Thursday 30 June 2016
Communities and Local Government
Car parking facilities at Watermead Country Park, Leicester
The petition of residents of Leicester East,
Declares that additional car parking facilities for Watermead Country Park users are required urgently as during bank holidays and hot days the car park capacity for Watermead Country Park is insufficient for the number of visitors to the park; further that, once the car park is full, Watermead Country Park users park on Alderton Close; further that this blocks the residents’ drives and restricts the movement of cars entering and leaving the area as vehicles are backed up along the road; and further that local police have been called on numerous occasions to diffuse the situation between residents of Alderton Close and Watermead Country Park users.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Leicester City Council to extend the parking facilities at Watermead Country Park in Leicester.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Keith Vaz, Official Report, 7 June 2016; Vol. 611, c. 1160.]
Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Marcus Jones):
The National Planning Policy Framework does not set maximum national parking standards. This reflects the Government’s belief that local authorities are best placed to take account of local circumstances and all other material considerations. It is for them to apply national planning policy to local situations and decide the level of parking that is appropriate in view of local circumstances, and the need to promote sustainable transport outcomes.
In March 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government published new statutory guidance that ensures local residents and firms can petition to initiate a formal review of parking policies in their area by their council, with councillors then voting on the action to be taken. The full guidance can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-challenge-parking-policies.
This statutory guidance is issued by the Secretary of State under Section 18 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. It applies to Local Traffic Authorities in England, which must have regard to this guidance when exercising their Network Management Duty under the Act.
Culture, Media and Sport
Sports pitches at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire
The petition of residents of the UK,
Declares that the sports pitches to the south of Shugborough Hall are well used and a valuable asset to local and area teams; further that the pitches have been part of a recreation site for decades; further that the proposals put forward by the National Trust to close the pitches in order to create parkland would have a negative impact on sports provision in Staffordshire and make it harder for local people to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle; further notes that these proposals have not been consulted upon; and further that a local petition on a similar matter has been signed by 1,000 individuals.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to call on the National Trust to work with the local community to arrive at a compromise where the sports pitches at Shugborough Hall can continue to be used by local sports teams.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Jeremy Lefroy , Official Report, 20 April 2016; Vol. 608, c. 1030.]
Observations from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr John Whittingdale):
The cross-Government sport strategy document, “Sporting Future, A New Strategy for an Active Nation” makes it clear that playing pitches and those facilities which make up the sporting infrastructure are of primary importance in increasing the number of people taking part in sport and physical activity.
National Trust is a charity independent from Government. I understand that by taking back the management of Shugborough, National Trust will save the local authority £35 million in costs. It will also guarantee the future opening and upkeep of the estate, as well as attracting more visitors to what is one of the few remaining complete working estates in the country.
In the long term it would be positive to restore the current estate at Shugborough Hall to its earlier position as eighteenth century parkland, for the benefit of visitors to this famous National Trust site. Like sport, visiting heritage sites also has a significant impact on wellbeing and life satisfaction. The wellbeing value of visiting heritage sites has been calculated as equivalent to £1,646 per person per year.
In the shorter term it may be better for those sports participants who will be affected by the closure of their pitches, to be able to continue to use the sports facilities until new playing fields can reasonably be secured. I understand that as things stand, there are currently no viable alternative facilities in place for the teams for next season.
I understand from the National Trust that it is still in talks with the local football and cricket teams involved and I very much hope that a solution will be arrived at which will allow the teams sufficient time to make alternative arrangements, so that they can continue to play their sports.
My officials will continue to monitor progress and to offer support as required.