HC Deb 19 May 1938 vol 336 cc573-4
44. Sir Francis Fremantle

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education why so little attention is given in the national campaign for physical fitness to the cultivation of allotments and gardens in the interest of the mass of adult workers who are too old or unsuited for athletic games?

Mr. Lindsay

My Noble Friend has no desire to minimise the value of the cultivation of allotments and gardens as a wholesome and healthy activity, but he does not think that the provision of allotments and gardens can be regarded as falling within the scope of grant-aid under the Physical Training and Recreation Act. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture is concerned to encourage in every way, through existing statutory machinery, the welfare and extension of the allotments movement.

Sir F. Fremantle

Is it not a fact that the scheme for national fitness is not limited to grants, but is intended to encourage general fitness, including that of adults, who are generally disregarded and form three-quarters of the population?

Mr. Lindsay

This is a matter which is better done through existing machinery. The first preference in this campaign of course, will be given to those people between 14 and 21.

Mr. Davidson

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one of the difficulties with regard to the cultivation of allotments and gardens in Scotland is the amount of land owned by private landowners?

47. Major Whiteley

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is now in a position to make an announcement as to the site for the National College of Physical Training?

Mr. Lindsay

Yes, Sir. My Noble Friend has considered a number of possible sites and has decided, in consultation with the National Fitness Council for England and Wales, that the most suitable site for the purpose is one of 220 acres situated on the Merstham Manor Estate, which, although only 17 miles from London, is in attractive open country adequately protected. I am glad to say that preliminary negotiations for the purchase of the site have been completed.