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Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what progress has been made in the construction of the (a) 3,500 outdoor play areas and (b) 300 staffed adventure playgrounds referred to in the 2007 Children’s Plan. (318417)

[holding answer 24 February 2010]: 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 has been receiving funding through the play capital investment programme since April 2009.

Of the 152 top-tier local authorities, 30 are play pathfinder authorities and the remaining 122 local authorities are all play builder authorities. On average every play pathfinder authority receives around £2 million capital funding and £500,000 revenue funding over the current spending period 2008-09 to 2010-11. They will use this funding to deliver a minimum of 28 play areas plus a staffed adventure playground. The play builder authorities receive around £1 million capital and £45,000 revenue funding over the same spending period and will deliver a minimum of 22 play areas. The play areas that are delivered can be either completely new areas or existing areas which are significantly refurbished.

Decisions on where the allocated capital funding is spent within local authority boundaries are taken locally, based on grant requirements which state that: improved play spaces must be provided where they are most needed, and as a result of a robust consultation process involving local children and young people, families and wider communities.

The number of outdoor public play areas delivered by local authorities since the programme began in April 2008 is 1,152 and plans are well under way to ensure that the target of 3,500 play areas completed by the end of March 2011 is achieved. Of the 30 staffed adventure playgrounds, 20 are due to be delivered by the end of March 2010 with local authorities managing the impact of the recent extreme weather. The remaining 10 adventure playgrounds will be delivered by the end of March 2011.