Football: Sportsgrounds

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 10th June 2019.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to prevent the loss of council-owned football pitches in order to support grass roots football.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Government recognises how important it is that local communities have access to good sporting facilities. That is why in partnership with the FA and the Premier League we are investing more money than ever before, through the Football Foundation charity, to significantly improve the access and quality of community football facilities across the country. This year a combined £70million will go to this important area. To inform and direct future investment, new local football facility plans are being produced for every local authority in England. The plans will be in place by 2020 and will identify local priorities where investment in grassroots facilities is needed the most.

Sport England also has a role in protecting sport pitches as a statutory consultee in the planning system. Sport England objects to all applications unless the developer can prove it will improve or safeguard sports provision. For the period between April 2016 and March 2017, 93% (1,102 out of 1,187) planning applications affecting playing fields resulted in improved or protected sports provision.

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