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The Threat to our Playing Fields

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45% of local authorities are considering either selling parks and green spaces or transferring their management to others

Crookhall

Every year our playing fields and parks are lost forever. Once a park is built on and lost to that community – it is gone forever.

Due to increasing pressure on the budgets of Local Authorities – and the fact that provision is not mandatory - playing fields and other recreational spaces are often the first thing sold to raise funds. This, combined with an ever increasing need for more housing and commercial development, has continued to erode the stock of playing fields in the UK.

The short term economies of this approach are far outweighed by both long term social and economic costs.

The loss of green spaces clearly has a negative impact on people and communities:

  • People living more than 1 mile from a park are 27% more likely to be obese
  • Health problems associated with being overweight or obese cost the NHS more than £5 billion every year
  • It is estimated that if the whole English population had equally easy access to green spaces the well being saving to the NHS would be around £2.1 billion per annum

However:

  • 45% of local authorities are considering either selling parks and green spaces or transferring their management to others
  • Only 38% of people felt local green spaces are within easy walking distance

Outdoor play for children is vital to their development physically, mentally and emotionally giving them the opportunity to develop a whole range of skills which will benefit them for life. The facilities on Fields in Trust sites help to address this need and provide opportunities for sport and play.

Fields in Trust protects over 2,500 parks and playing fields – many more will remain under threat unless we are able to permanently safeguard them.