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School Playing Fields

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 11 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many school playing fields there were in (a) 1997 and (b) 2006; and how many square feet this represented in each year; (84247)

(2) how many square feet of property belonging to educational establishments has been sold since 1997.

The information requested is not held centrally. Data on school playing fields were requested from local authorities in 2001 and 2003 but the data were incomplete and of variable quality, and it was not possible to accurately assess the number and area of school playing fields.

Since 1998, there have been 228 applications that involve the sale of an area of grassed land that could comprise a school sports pitch. Of these, 43 have been rejected or the application withdrawn. 175 applications have been approved and the other 10 are still under consideration. Of the 175 approved applications, 73 related to playing fields at closed or closing schools. Prior to 1998 there was no regulation of the sale of school playing fields at local authority controlled schools.