West Briton column 20 June 2013

Over the last week or so I have visited a number of primary and secondary schools where I have been grilled by Year Six to Year Eleven students on my work as their MP. This is always a tough but rewarding experience, I learn so much from the discussions at each meeting. Of the wide variety of questions politely asked of me, the subject of sports facilities and an ‘Olympic legacy’ for Cornwall is always of great interest. I am delighted that so many young people participate in such a wide range of outdoor activities and sports.

I am pleased that the Government is supporting this involvement with sport, using £493million to invest in grassroots sporting groups. I am particularly pleased to see that local clubs from St. Agnes Tennis to Penryn Rugby to Flushing Gig Club have all received funds from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund to make substantial improvements to their facilities and activities. I sincerely hope that more clubs and groups will apply for this support, further details of which can be found through http//inspiredfacilities.sportengland.org/

As Cornwall Council works with local communities on deciding the numbers of new homes and where they are to be built it is really important to make sure that green open spaces are planned in as well as sports facilities. Both are important for our natural environment as well as ensuring that local people of all ages and abilities have access to facilities where they can have fun and boost their fitness.

That’s why I felt it was so important to intervene last week and prevent the sale of the former Budock Hospital site to the highest bidder. The plans put forward by Falmouth School and supported by both Falmouth Town and Cornwall Council make good sense. The land is publicly owned and should be for the benefit of local people.

The schools plan to build an all-weather sports facility for their pupils and the community, has the support of a wide range of groups including Cornwall Squash and Rackets Association; Cornwall Football Association and Road Runners as well as Falmouth’s Town Football, United Football, Cricket, Hockey and Rugby Clubs. This is a much better option that having a housing estate built in the middle of the school campus.

I was pleased to make the case for the well supported Falmouth School plans in Parliament last week and secured the support of the Health Minister in charge. The land has been taken off the open market and I have arranged a meeting with representatives of the NHS, Falmouth School and Cornwall Council which I will chair tomorrow so that we can find a common sense solution that will deliver much needed improvements for the school and a real Olympic legacy for Falmouth.

Finally congratulations to the organisers of yet another successful Cornish Festival of Cricket, hosted by Truro Cricket Club, and good luck to all those competing in the Cornwall Schools Games on the 28th June!

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