Fields in Trust

Making changes to protected parks

Fields in Trust protects parks and green spaces through Deeds of Dedication, Minutes of Agreement and Deeds of Covenant.

Landowners of protected green spaces can make changes to those spaces as long as they fit with the purpose of the protection and benefit its recreational use. Some changes will require our consent which needs to be applied for through our field change request process.

When is consent not required?

Changes that do not require our consent:

  • Any outdoor sport and recreational facilities as long as they are open to the public free of charge.
  • Changing the mix of outdoor sport and recreational facilities.
  • Licences provided they do not give exclusive possession and are in line with the permitted use in the protection instrument.
  • Fencing around sport and recreational facilities which does not restrict public access.
  • Events that do not require closure of the protected green space or require closure of no more than 25% of the green space for less than 21 consecutive days (including set-up and set-down) per event.
  • Tree planting or tree removal, other planting and wildflower areas, benches.
  • Temporary compounds relating to improvement works within the protected space.
  • Many measures to avoid, adapt or mitigate the actual or anticipated effects of climate change; and/or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the protected space. Please see the guidance for further information.

The following also do not require our consent provided that the total structural and building footprint (including car parking) does not exceed 20% of the overall protected area:

  • Sports pavilions
  • Changing rooms
  • Public toilets
  • Storage facilities for sport and play equipment and machinery
  • Cafes
When is consent required?

If any of your proposed changes are not in the list above, you may need to apply for consent.

You should first check the legal documents relating to your green space. These may include:

  • Governing Instruments
  • Conveyances
  • Transfer documents
  • Deeds
  • Land Registry office copy entries

These documents will provide the basis and justification for seeking any consents from Fields in Trust. You should consider whether you wish to seek independent legal advice.

Once you have reviewed the space's legal documents, please read the guidance we provide, as it explains everything you need to know about the changes you may want to make and the documents we need to see.

Applying for consent

To get Fields in Trust consent you must complete a field change request application form.

The online application form will ask you about the changes you are planning and allow you to upload supporting documentation.

After submitting your application, you will be required to pay an upfront fee of £150 before your application is reviewed. You will be emailed an invoice and, once payment is received, your application will be reviewed by a member of our team. They will be in touch to explain the next steps and when you can expect a decision.

You will be charged for the field change request service so please see our fees to get an estimate of the likely costs you will incur for your consent request.

If you need a rapid decision for a project that is progressing quickly, we offer a fast-track service alongside our normal change request service. Fast-track will provide you with a final decision within five working days.

We are able to accept fast-track applications for any Field Change Request apart from Release of Land or Exchange of Land matters. Please see our fees page to find out about the fast-track costs and information about applying for this service.

Granting consent

Field change requests are reviewed monthly.  Most requests are reviewed for decision by our Planning and Policy Committee which is a representative group of Trustees with the greatest relevant experience. The Fields in Trust Scotland and Cymru Committees have responsibility for decisions in their respective nations. The Fields in Trust Executive also have delegated authority to respond to certain types of requests. We reserve the right to refer any application to our full Council who meet on a quarterly basis.

Further information

If you would like more information about the field change request process or have a query not answered in our guidance, please use our contact form, selecting field change request as the topic of your enquiry.

This guidance was last updated in September 2023.