Sports Facility Design and Planning

S&C Slatter have a highly skilled, in-house, sports facility design team. Building on 30 years’ experience in sports construction we have developed deep expertise in sports pitch design and successfully managing the planning application process on behalf of clients.

We offer a true one-stop solution providing a seamless experience from pitch and facility design, through planning, to sports facility construction and pitch maintenance.

Read on to learn more about the design and planning process or get in touch to discuss your project requirements.

Design and planning for sports construction

Our dedicated and highly experienced in-house sports design and planning team will develop conceptual designs into detailed and informed technical drawings, ready for planning and construction.

Taking the finalised sports facility design through planning, we can either deliver specialist advice within your own planning team or assume lead responsibility for the planning process in its entirety. We’ll handle everything, from the production of the pre-application planning statement to the completion and submission of statutory planning documents.

As sports construction specialists, we are perfectly placed to deliver the design and planning stage of your project, ensuring maximum efficiency in the construction phase.

The strong communication and shared knowledge across our in-house departments will ensure that your goals and objectives are communicated through every stage of the process, allowing for a smooth transition from the granting of planning permission to the implementation of on-site works.

Call or email us to discuss your project requirements.

What design is needed for a sports pitch, court or track?

There are three key stages in design development for sports construction.

1. Conceptual design

The initial stage of design is a conceptual one, where the ‘vision’ of the project is realised, based on your project brief and following an on-site consultation. This will take into account your objectives and aspirations, as well as the proposed site location.

This stage will consider:
– Will the sports facility fit in the proposed location? How will it look?
– The relationship of the facility to other site assets and features
– Reviewing access on and off site
– Evaluation of supporting infrastructure required
– Anticipating any known technical build or logistical issues

We will prepare first costings for the delivery process, to give you an idea of overall cost and options available.

Project conceptual designs allow for a business plan to be developed with a clear insight into likely funding requirements. It provides a visual and financial asset that can be used to engage internal and external stakeholders.

Learn more about our conceptual design process and outputs.

2. Site survey and evaluation

The conceptual design will be used as an indicator of what survey and evaluations will be needed to develop the design and project detail. This stage will reveal exactly ‘what is possible’ on the site location, and how it can be best achieved.

Both quantitative and qualitative analysis will be used to ask and answer pertinent questions, providing a clear insight into the best project solutions.

Methods employed by our in-house technical team include:

  • Ground based and aerial (drone) surveying
  • Photography
  • Sampling and Mapping
  • Desk-based research
  • CAD and 3D Virtual modelling

We work with our clients to deliver the Detailed Site Surveying and Evaluation Report in a format and structure that best conforms to their needs. We do this while ensuring that key components are structured to meet the requirements of planning authorities and statutory bodies, ready for the planning stage.

The survey and evaluation process may include research areas:

  • Acoustic feasibility
  • Arboricultural
  • Archaeology
  • CCTV
  • Geotechnical
  • Geoenvironmental
  • Drainage impact

Learn more about our sports facility site surveying and evaluation services.


  • Ecology
  • Environmental risk assessment
  • Flood risk assessment
  • Lighting assessment
  • Topographical
  • Transport
  • Travel plan
  • Underground services

3. Design development

It’s at this stage that the design becomes informed and specific, embracing the evidence gathered in the survey stage, while being continuously challenged and extended through stakeholder objectives.

We consider real and potential project impacts, taking various factors into account when developing designs.

These factors include:
– Geotechnical, hydrographic and topographical evidence
– Ecology and archaeology
– Planning consents
– Drainage and water management
– Landscape design
– Lighting, traffic, and noise
– Footfall profiling

Our in-house design team will deliver a series of design iterations through the process, utilising plan, isometric, elevation and construction section views to create a comprehensive representation of the project proposal.

Drawings include setting out and ‘as built’ details for:

  • Levels
  • Drainage
  • Layout
  • Cross section
  • Surfacing System
  • Fencing, floodlighting, and line-marking
  • Accommodation
  • Spectator facilities

Depending on your project needs, this can also encompass extended infrastructure design, for: visitor facilities, car parks, access roads, lighting, soft and hard landscaping and general site modelling.

Expert design is crucial for planning and construction

Managed as a ‘live’ entity that feeds off a stream of inputs, we work collaboratively with stakeholders, and our designers consult our construction team throughout the design process. Leveraging decades of field-based experience, our experts contribute feedback and advice to deliver highly effective, future-proofed designs ready for construction.

Through this dialogue, we minimise your exposure to risk and cost throughout the most expensive phase of your project – construction – whilst ensuring you are best equipped to move forward to the planning stage.

Learn more about our design development services.

Is planning permission required for a sports pitch, court or track?

Planning permission is usually necessary for a wide range of developments and can require intensive liaison with local planning authorities, statutory bodies and external stakeholders.

Examples of sports project developments that require planning permission include:

– Construction of new sports pitches and multi-use games areas (MUGAs)
– Replacement or change of playing surface (e.g. the conversion of a natural grass pitch to a synthetic turf pitch)
– New or replacement floodlighting
– New or replacement fencing, gates and other security features
– New clubhouses or extensions to existing clubhouses
– New or additional car parking
– Increasing the intensity of use of an existing site
– Introducing significant new ancillary facilities
– New or improved site access
– Change of use from agricultural land

A full list is available from Sport England.

Planning Experts

We can lead and manage all aspects of the Planning Application process to save you time and inconvenience. From authoring a Pre-Application Planning Statement to the completion and submission of statutory planning documents, our experts will manage the process to deliver your objectives with maximum efficiency.

Responsibilities during the planning stage will include:
– Preparation of survey drawings and data
– Project build plans
– Evidential reports
– Project narratives
– Preparation of the formal application
– Attendance at relevant meetings and interviews

Working collaboratively across all departments, our unique understanding of the construction process, methodology and timeframe will aid in the best representation of your project to local authorities and planning officers. Learn more about our planning services.

S&C Slatter Design and Planning

Our in-house design and planning team utilise a proven process, mirroring the RIBA plan of work, to successfully take projects from concept to completion.

Working with clients such as Charterhouse School, Kings College London and Warrington Town FC, we utilise cross-department knowledge to best inform each stage of the process, providing one, simple solution for clients looking to embark on a sports construction project.

Ensuring an effective and comprehensive project design will not only allow for a smoother planning application process, but minimise your exposure to risk and cost during the implementation of works and throughout the construction phase.

If you have any further questions about the design and planning of sports pitches, courts or athletics tracks, please get in touch.

For more information call 01635 34521 or email