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Playing Fields

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

7. When he expects to decide on the bid by Churchdown School, Gloucestershire, to sell part of its playing field for the purpose of developing sports facilities; and if he will make a statement. (80885)

The application by Churchdown school for permission to sell part of its playing fields is under consideration. The School Playing Fields Advisory Panel will discuss the application at its July meeting, which I understand is on 20 July, and a decision will then be taken by the Department.

I thank the Minister for that reply. The importance of the project to the area will be confirmed by his ministerial colleague, the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Dhanda), who represents the next-door constituency. A while ago, the school had a lottery application turned down that would have funded very important sports facilities in an area in which some 10,000 people live, and which lacks such facilities. That extremely important project is a community partnership, so will the Minister do all that he can to speed up the decision? I believe that it has been on the Minister's desk for some time now, and I ask him to treat it with the seriousness that I really do think the project deserves.

It has not been on my desk for some time. As I said, it is currently with the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel but I have spoken today to officials who have been looking at the case, and, assuming that the panel’s decision is unanimous and uncontroversial, I will ensure that the school receives the decision by the end of this term.