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Playgrounds: Finance

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what funding his Department has allocated for (a) the construction and renewal of playgrounds and (b) new adventure playgrounds for eight to 13 year olds in deprived areas supervised by trained staff in (i) 2009-10 and (ii) 2010-11. (305302)

The national Play Strategy, launched in December 2008, set out the Government’s commitment to invest £235 million to deliver 3,500 new or refurbished play areas, plus 30 staffed adventure playgrounds, by 2011.

This funding is allocated to every top tier local authority in England, of which 30 are play pathfinder authorities and the remaining 122 local authorities are Playbuilder authorities. On average every play pathfinder authority will receive around £2 million capital funding and £500,000 revenue funding which is to be used to completely, or substantially, replace old equipment for new or for the building of completely new play areas, with a priority on provision for 8 to 13-year-olds. Play pathfinder authorities will also deliver a new staffed adventure playground. Although these authorities will not receive a separate allocation of funding for the construction of their adventure playground, they have been advised that the construction costs will be around £800,000.

Playbuilder authorities will receive around £1 million capital and £45,000 revenue funding to deliver a minimum of 22 new or refurbished play areas.

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, especially deprived areas, 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.

The total amount of capital funding allocated for (i) 2009-10 is £100 million and for (ii) 2010-11 is £75 million.