Sports playing pitch strategy is published

Protecting the existing supply of sports playing pitches, enhancing them and providing extra new sites wherever possible are the key themes underpinning a new strategy to promote sport at all levels.

Members of the council’s Cabinet are being asked to approve the latest version of the city’s Playing Pitch Strategy at their next meeting on June 26.

The document, covering the period up to 2031, has been produced in collaboration with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, a number of sporting national governing bodies and under the guidance of Sports England.

It covers pitches used for football, cricket, both codes of rugby, hockey, and lacrosse as well as other 3G and grass sports pitches (such as those used for American football and kabaddi and tennis courts).

The study shows there is already a shortfall of sites for a number of sports or overplays on pitches, with the situation likely to deteriorate in the absence of a clearly defined strategy for the future. It has been produced in partnership with neighbouring Solihull to ensure there is no overlap or duplication of effort by the adjoining local authorities.

Under the new strategy, which is set to form a key part of the council’s Birmingham 2022 legacy planning, these challenges will be tackled in a number of ways including: the protection of pitches through planning policies; secure tenure and access to sites for development-minded clubs; working with partner organisations and stakeholders to secure fresh sources of funding; and to identify opportunities to add to existing stock, possibly through better use of existing sites.

The strategy also outlines an aim to maximise community use of education facilities, improving quality and securing developer contributions for projects.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “This strategy outlines the council’s clear commitment to an accessible, high-quality and sustainable network of sports facilities that promote opportunities for participation by all citizens at all levels of play from grassroots to elite.

“With the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham in 2022, it is vitally important that we have a clear plan how the city will deliver sport before and after the 11 days of first-class action dazzle crowds in our arenas and viewers watching on television around the world.

“Through this plan we are taking a joined-up approach, ensuring the needs of sport are linked to the wider Birmingham Development Plan that will deliver sustainable growth for the city and the improved opportunities for better lives that this offers to all.

“Birmingham loves sport and this plan shows the love the city has for its sports facilities. It is a document that will form a key part of our legacy planning from the Commonwealth Games.”

And to ensure the strategy remains relevant, it will be treated as a “living” document with regular reviews and will be kept up to date to reflect changes in the population and sporting landscape.

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