§ Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they are satisfied with the provision of playing fields and other recreational space in Bristol, particularly in view of the fact that Bristol City Council have recently granted planning permission for the development of Filwood playing fields.
§ Baroness Hayman
Her Majesty's Government are keen to ensure that playing fields which local communities need are not lost, and are currently considering how best this can be achieved. However, local authorities are generally best placed to make judgments about the provision of playing fields in their own areas. Government guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 17,Sport and Recreation, stresses the importance of sport and recreation in the widest sense, and advises local planning authorities to assess the level of provision and to take account of the community's needs for recreational space in development control decisions. Bristol City Council granted planning permission for residential development on land adjoining Inns Court Drive, which forms part of Filwood Playing Fields, on 23 May 1997. Responsibility for that decision rests with the council and, whilst I cannot comment on their decision, I understand that the loss of existing playing fields and open space was considered at that stage.
The council have also applied to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, seeking his consent to the proposed disposal of part of the playing fields at less than the best consideration that could reasonably be obtained. That application is currently being considered and will be determined on the basis of the information submitted by the council as specified in DoE Circular 6/93.