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Government: Assets

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether he plans to take steps to prevent (a) playing fields, (b) other sports facilities and (c) libraries being disposed of in the Government's proposed sale of public assets. (304486)

The Government's proposed sale of public assets did not include plans to dispose of playing fields, sports facilities and libraries, which are primarily matters for local authorities. Any asset sales would be based on proposals by individual local authorities as central Government do not determine what assets they may wish to sell.

On the subject of playing fields, I would like to outline current protections. Since 1998, any proposed sale of school playing fields by a local authority has required permission from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. Additionally, local authorities are required to consult Sport England where planning applications affect land used as a playing field in the preceding five years. In April this year these protections were strengthened further by reducing the size of land in question from 0.4 hectares to 0.2 hectares.