Grass pitches in three parks are to be thrown open to the public for 'leisure use' - but government spoilsports have slapped a ban on people kicking a ball around. With 40 per cent of people now considered overweight and precious little green space in urban areas available for exercise, the scheme seems like a good way to get people up and moving. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department says the Happy Valley Recreation Ground in Wan Chai, Perth Street Sports Ground in Kowloon City and Fanling Recreation Ground in Fanling will now be open to the public from 6am from Tuesdays to Fridays. However, to keep the grass in good condition, the department has declared the pitches off limits for ball games or sports training. 'Hong Kong is known as a city of concrete, with large green lawns being a luxury,' a department spokesman said. 'This pilot scheme is being launched for members of the public to have more access to the grass pitches.' Janet Hardisty, general manager of the Hong Kong Tennis Association, said she could understand the reason for opening up the facilities but thought it 'strange' that parents couldn't take their children there to kick a ball around. 'There are hardly enough sporting facilities in Hong Kong and we would want to always encourage people to take part.' Hong Kong Rugby Football Union's community manager, Robbie McRobbie, agreed there was a shortage of facilities in the community. 'We have definitely got more players than sporting facilities,' he said. 'There has to be a balance between recreation and organised sport but we definitely encourage the public to get involved with ball games at all times.' The pitches will not be available when games have been booked, on weekends or on Mondays. They will also be closed for an hour a day for watering.