HC Deb 30 November 1961 vol 650 cc597-8
4. Mr. Hobson

asked the Minister of Education how many local education authorities allow full use of their school playing fields and sports facilities to local youth organisations, how many allow restricted use, and how many allow no use at all; and if he will name those in each category.

Sir D. Eccles

The extent of shared use has to be arranged locally in the light of varying circumstances and it cannot be presented in statistical form. Authorities know that I am anxious that the fullest possible use should be made of school playing fields and other sports facilities.

Mr. Hobson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply and welcome his announcement that he supports such arrangements. Is he satisfied that all local authorities are making their sports facilities available to responsible local youth organisations? if there is a substantial number which are not, can he say what he proposes to do about it?

Sir D. Eccles

If I were informed that a local authority was against shared use on principle, I should most certainly make representations.

Mr. Ede

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind in any action he takes in response to the supplementary question of the hon. and learned Member that there is a maximum use which can be made of playing fields if any grass is to be retained on them?

Sir D. Eccles

Yes, Sir, I am aware of that.

Mr. Harold Davies

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he is consulted before school playing fields are taken over for building? Is he aware that in my constituency a school playing field is now being used as a site for a school and that £30,000 is to be spent on a playing field across a main road? Does he carefully consider these things before school playing fields are abandoned for other projects?

Sir D. Eccles

If the hon. Member will send me particulars, I will look into that case.