Disposal of Playing Fields

July 21st, 2015

Section 1 of the Playing Fields (Community Involvement in Disposal Decisions) (Wales) Measure 2010 enables the Welsh Ministers, by Regulations, to make provision for the involvement of communities in the disposal of land consisting, or forming part of, a playing field by a local authority.

The Playing Fields (Community Involvement in Disposal Decisions) (Wales) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/1403 (W.139) (“the Regulations”) apply to the decision by a local authority to dispose of playing fields that meet the definition set out in Regulation 2, fall within Regulation 3 and do not fall within any of the exceptions in Regulation 4.

Regulation 3 provides that the requirements in Regulations 5 to 10 apply where a local authority is considering making a decision to dispose, or to make a decision to enter into an agreement to dispose, of a playing field or any part of a playing field. The requirements would only apply where the playing field in question has been used as a sports or recreational facility by the public at any time in the 5 years before disposal. However, Regulation 3(c) provides that the requirements in Regulations 5 to 10 do not apply where any of the exceptions in Regulation 4(1) apply.

If the disposal in question is a grant of an interest in the playing field which does not have an adverse impact on the use of the playing field, the requirements for consultation, notification and decision making provided for in the Regulations at Regulations 5 to 10 do not apply. Similarly, these requirements do not apply where the playing field is disposed to another local authority or sporting or recreational body and the playing field will be retained for sporting or recreational use.

The requirements at Regulations 5 to 10 of the Regulations do not apply where consultation has been undertaken in respect of particular proposals relating to school organisation under Part 3 of the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. Similarly, they do not apply to any disposals which are pending at the time that these Regulations come into force.

The requirements in Regulation 5 relate to the notice and consultation arrangements which must be followed prior to any decision to dispose, or enter into an agreement to dispose, of a playing field or any part of a playing field. Regulation 5 includes a duty on local authorities to send details of the proposed disposal to specified bodies.

Regulation 6 requires a local authority to ensure that these details include information about the effect that the local authority considers the disposal would have on a number of strategies, plans and assessments. This may include information regarding the effect the disposal would have on the successful implementation or delivery of any relevant strategy, plan or assessment.

Regulation 7 requires a local authority to have regard to all representations received during the consultation period. It also enables the local authority to have regard to any representations received after the end of the consultation period.

Regulation 8 applies where a local authority has decided to proceed with a decision to dispose of a playing field or any part of a playing field. The requirements in Regulation 8 must be complied with before a local authority disposes, or enters into an agreement to dispose, of playing fields or any part of a playing field. Regulation 8(9) imposes requirements on a local authority where it has decided not to proceed with a disposal.

Regulation 9 provides that communications under the Regulations may take an electronic form. Any such electronic communication that is received outside a recipient’s normal office hours will be taken to have been received on the next working day.

Regulation 10 requires local authorities to have regard to any guidance given by the Welsh Ministers when exercising their functions under the Regulations.

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