§ 76. Mr. BRIANT
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he will take into consideration the question of the purchase of existing football and cricket grounds and also the acquisition of other suitable open spaces for similar purposes, so that facilities for open-air recreation in or near the greatcities may be secured for the future; and, considering the probable demand for ground on which to erect the required housing accommodation for the people, will he take immediate steps to prevent the alienation of such spaces as are necessary for the continuation of the sports which have done so much for the physical and moral training of the nation?
§ Major ASTOR
It is competent to local authorities under the Public Health Acts to acquire lands for recreation grounds and to set apart portions of such lands for the purposes of cricket, football, or other games. I would draw the hon. Member's attention especially to Section 164 of the Public Health Acts, 1875, and Section 76 of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1907. Open spaces for purposes of recreation may also be provided under the Open Spaces Act, 1906. By reason of Treasury restrictions the Board are not in a position at present to sanction loans for the provision of pleasure grounds, but they regard the objects in view in the hon. Member's question as very desirable and deserving of encouragement. As regards the latter part of the question, the consideration which the hon. Member raises will certainly be borne in mind in connection with proposals submitted to the Local Government Board for the provision of housing accommodation.