§ 6. Mr. Philip Holland
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what funds have been spent by the Sports Council for Wales on the construction of Plas y Deri mountaineering centre.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Michael Roberts)
I understand that the Sports Council for Wales has to date spent £1,100,000 on the construction of the national outdoor pursuits centre at Plas y Deri.
§ Mr. Holland
Does my hon. Friend think that it makes financial sense for the Sports Council for Wales to spend an estimated £2 million on the creation of a new sports centre in the Snowdonia region, when a similar centre operated by the Sports Council in the same region is only 67 per cent. utilised? Does he agree that the money might be better spent on one of the cost-effective job creation schemes?
§ Mr. Roberts
Before my hon. Friend comes to a final conclusion on the value for money expenditure by the 6 Sports Council for Wales he should take into consideration the fact that, unlike Plas-y-Brenin, the outdoor pursuits centre at Plas y Deri will cater for sailing and other water sports, as well as mountaineering. The intention of the Sports Council for Wales is to establish one national centre in Wales for Welsh sports men and women, which will cater for both main branches of outdoor pursuits.
§ Mr. Wigley
Is the Minister aware that the people of Caernarvon and, indeed, of Wales, welcome the setting up of this outdoor pursuits centre? It has made excellent progress. It makes facilities available—for the disabled, for example—that are not available at the other centre in Snowdonia. Does he agree that if he addresses himself to this question at all, he should address himself to the question whether the other centre for outdoor pursuits in Snowdonia should come under the Sports Council for Wales?
§ Mr. Roberts
I think that there is room in Wales for both centres and that both will play a valuable part in Welsh and British life.
§ Mr. Colin Shepherd
Are there not 70 other outdoor pursuit centres within a 50-mile radius of Snowdonia catering for all kinds of sports, not all of which are fully occupied all the time? What consultations took place between the Welsh and British Sports Councils before this massive investment took place? Is this not a case either of Welsh parochialism or of bumbling bureaucracy duplicating facilities unnecessarily?
§ Mr. Roberts
The Sports Council for Wales is an independent body, fully responsible for deciding its spending priorities in the interests of Welsh sport. Its centre in South Wales has been a well-subscribed success, and we look forward to the same happening at Plas y Deri.