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Fair Play for Children Freedom of Information Survey on Playground Provision in England 2011


Fair Play for children undertook a survey of 326 English local authorities in the early part of 2011.

The Councils selected were Principal Authorities delivering discretionary leisure services, including play provision.  In the main, this would include the London Boroughs, Unitary Authorities and District/Borough Councils where there are also County Councils.

School playgrounds were excluded.

The questions asked sought to establish:

There was a question about types of play area, many councils use a definition formulated by Fields in Trust, some do not, and this is recorded.

Also, estimate of acreage of play area space.   This proved a challenge as some authorities either do not have a record, or their play areas in some cases are within parks and without fencing.  In some cases, a figure of 400 sq metres was used in the calculation process.

Because Parish Councils also provide play areas, Councils were asked if they knew of any run by PCs, or other bodies, in their areas.  Arising from this Fair Play has been in contact with the National Association of Parish Councils with a view to a non-FoI Survey (the FoI does not apply to Parish Councils) and this will be going ahead in co-operation with the NALC during the year.

Of the 326 Principal Councils surveyed, 300 responded, three mailings were necessary.   Another 13 are pending with their responses and the remaining 13 have not responded at all and FP is considering complaints via the ICO.

So far as Fair Play for Children is aware, this is the first such national survey of play areas in England

A media story with comments can be viewed HERE

In summary:

Furthermore, Fair Play has been able to calculate that, for the 11.2 million children aged under 16 years in England, this Principal Council provision provides 1 acre of such playsapce for every 752 children (or 692 per play area).

To provide playgrounds for 1 acre for every 100 children:


The Results:

it is suggested you may wish to ensure you have checked appropriately about copyright of the information below with the Freedom of Information Officer of the relevent Council(s) before non-private use.

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