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Playgrounds: Hertfordshire

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what funding his Department has provided for the enhancement of public play facilities in (a) Hemel Hempstead constituency, (b) Dacorum and (c) Hertfordshire in the last 12 months. (284738)

Following the commitments made in the Children's Plan in 2007 and the national Play strategy in 2008, every top tier local authority in England will receive either play pathfinder or playbuilder funding between 2008-11 through the play capital investment programme.

On average all play pathfinder authorities will receive around £2 million capital funding and £500,000 revenue funding, while playbuilder authorities will receive around £1 million capital and £45,000 revenue funding. Play pathfinder authorities will use their allocated funding to deliver a minimum of 28 play areas plus a new staffed adventure playground, while playbuilder authorities will deliver a minimum of 22 play areas by 2011. The play areas that are delivered can be either completely new areas or existing areas which are significantly refurbished.

Local authorities have joined the programme, and so started receiving their funding, in two phases: Wave 1 started in April 2008 and Wave 2 in April 2009. Hertfordshire is a Wave 2 playbuilder authority and will receive capital funding of £541,001 in 2009-10 and £609,820 in 2010-11 and revenue funding of £27,633 in 2009-10 and £18,422 in 2010-11. Allocations for 2010-11 are indicative and will be confirmed in February 2010.

Decisions on where the capital funding is spent within local authority boundaries are taken locally, based on grant requirements around improved play spaces being provided where they are most needed and based on a robust consultation process with local children and young people, families and wider communities.

We are encouraging all members of parliament to proactively engage with their local play capital programmes as they roll out, and we are asking local authorities to ensure that their local members of parliament and council elected members are appropriately consulted, and briefed, about where the capital funding is spent.