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Sporting Village

Volume 448: debated on Monday 3 July 2006

Just before I answer the question, I believe that most of the House would like to share in our deep sense of disappointment at England’s early exit from the World cup on Saturday, but it would be wrong if the House did not thank David Beckham, who has captained the England team for more than five years. Let me also thank him for the support that he gave to help London in securing the Olympic bid. To Sven—dreams were not realised, but I wish him the best for the future. To Steve McClaren—the man at the helm now—good luck, and I thank him for meeting some of the 300 young people who took part on Saturday; he realised their dreams.

The answer to the question—[Interruption.] Quite honestly, Opposition Members are being churlish when the World cup has been one of our biggest sporting events for many years.

There is no dedicated funding stream for sports villages, but between 2001 and 2006, the Government have invested about £1 billion of lottery and Exchequer funding in sports facilities, which represents the biggest sports facilities investment programme in decades. Derek Mapp, the ex-chair of East Midlands Development Agency, is currently leading a feasibility study looking at how this interesting and innovative concept might be developed further. The study will look at whether sports villages—[Interruption.] If Opposition Members listen, they might discover that there is to be one in their area. The study will consider whether sports villages have the potential to contribute to the regeneration and sustainability of communities on a wide range of fronts, as well as a role in delivering the Olympic 2012 legacy.

I agree with my right hon. Friend that the whole of England is disappointed that the World cup will not be lifted by David Beckham. Of course there is sorrow, but we look forward to four years’ time, when I believe that we can win it.

I agree with my right hon. Friend that sporting villages are very important. There must be a good geographical spread across the country, but I can think of nowhere better for one than in Chorley, because we are a former new town, with a lot of Government-owned land, where we ended up with housing with absolutely no facilities and no infrastructure to back up the people who have been left neglected. Will he meet members of the local authority and me to pursue the development of a sporting village in Lancashire, but based in Chorley?

My hon. Friend is, without doubt, a great advocate for his constituents. Mr Mapp is getting Deloittes to do a survey, and as soon as that report comes out, which is towards the end of July or the beginning of August, I should be delighted to meet my hon. Friend and his constituents and, indeed, local authority representatives.