HC Deb 07 December 1967 vol 755 cc1638-9
2. Mr. Roebuck

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his policy in respect of the need for indoor and all-weather sports facilities; and what action he intends to take.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Dennis Howell)

In conjunction with my right hon. Friends the Minister of Housing and Local Government and the Secretary of State for Wales I have constantly urged upon local authorities the importance of including them in future plans. The regional sports councils are aware of the importance of these facilities for community recreation and are doing all they can to stimulate provision, but the pace of development must of course depend on the resources available in the present economic situation.

Mr. Roebuck

Does my hon. Friend agree that the best way in which to secure his objective would be for local authorities to include these facilities in the designs for new schools which could then be used by the community generally so that everybody would get the benefit of the capital invested? Are there any such plans for the Harrow area?

Mr. Howell

I agree with the proposition. Not only have we made speeches on the matter, but the Department's Building Bulletin No. 26 has explicitly made the point. I am not sure whether this is happening in the Harrow area, but I hope that it is and I hope that the Question will stimulate action along these lines.

Mr. Arthur Davidson

Is not one of the most glaring and desperate needs in the country indoor all-weather athletic facilities? Has my hon. Friend anything in mind in this respect. not necessarily in my constituency, although I would not find that objectionable?

Mr. Howell

I agree that the need is for indoor recreational areas, but also for outdoor floodlit all-weather areas, which is not quite the same thing.