MORE playing fields in the north east are being protected.
New figures have revealed that due to Sport England’s role as statutory consultee on planning applications, more open space is being protected.
Sports provision has been improved at 99 locations from 102 planning applications in the north east during 2009-10 – 22 more than the previous year.
Landowners, including councils, are required to consult Sport England on any proposed development that would affect or lead to the loss of a sports playing field.
Sport England objects to all applications unless the developer can prove it will improve or safeguard sports provision.
Richard Lewis, Sport England chairman, said: “Playing fields are often where many people have their first sporting experience and protecting them is vital.
“I’m pleased the latest figures for the north east again show that the safeguards that have been put in place are working.
“As well as our statutory consultee role on playing fields, we are also ensuring people will continue to have places to play sport through our Protecting Playing Fields fund.
“As part of our Olympic legacy programme, Places People Play, this fund is protecting and improving hundreds of playing fields across the country, making sure people have high-quality spaces to play sport and ensuring a lasting legacy beyond London 2012.”