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Playing Fields

Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what occasions since April 2000 the Playing Fields Monitoring Group has met; and if she will make a statement. (98225)

The Playing Fields Monitoring Group met 12 times from April 2000 on the following occasions: 10 July 2000; 6 October 2000; 12 January 2001; 14 June 2001; 26 September 2001; 17 December 2001; 15 January 2002; 11 April 2002; 6 November 2002; 29 January 2003; 21 May 2003; and 27 May 2004. This particular group no longer meets, but my Department continues to liaise closely with the organisations that were represented on the group.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate her Department has made of the change in the number of playing fields of an area of less than 0.4 hectares in each year since 1997; and if she will make a statement. (98227)

Specific data on changes in numbers of sites of less than 0.4 hectares has not been centrally collected. However, since 2001-02, my Department has released information on the numbers of planning applications approved each year affecting sites which either were too small or of the wrong shape to accommodate a playing pitch as currently defined, as set out as follows. These figures will include applications affecting areas of less than 0.4 hectares:

Number

Representing percentage of the total approved applications

2001-02

201

29

2002-03

257

31

2003-04

314

33

2004-05

245

27

The Department for Communities and Local Government has committed to consulting on reducing from 0.4 hectares to 0.2 hectares the threshold at which Sport England must be consulted when a planning application for development is submitted. DCLG’s consultation is intended to take place next year.