HC Deb 18 July 1963 vol 681 cc708-9
29. Mr. Dudley Smith

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what progress he is making in his efforts to encourage local authorities to negotiate for the use of racecourses for sport and recreation facilities on non-racing days; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Corfield

My Department has written to all the local authority associations, and has taken note of the arrangements they have made to publicise this idea and to recommend it to their members. We have also enlisted the help of the National Playing Fields Association.

My right hon. Friend is very willing to consider proposals put to him, by local authorities who think that the dual use of racecourse land can make a contribution to their playing field problems.

Mr. Smith

Would my hon. Friend agree that the local authorities and the racecourse authorities at Wolver Hampton and Birmingham have set a valuable example in this respect, and will he persevere with his effort to encourage local authorities to negotiate for the use of racecourses, because there are 70-odd racecourses in this country which could be adapted for such use on non-racing days?

Mr. Corfield

I very much welcome the moves that have been made at Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and I am glad to tell my hon. Friend that a number of other local authorities are endeavouring to follow suit, but I do not think at the moment that any further publicity is needed from my Department.

Mr. Dance

Is my hon. Friend aware that, as a director of Birmingham racecourse, I can say that the arrangement that we have with the City of Birmingham has been very happy? It has helped our amenities by keeping the centre of the course clean and tidy, and I hope that other racecourses will adopt this idea.