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School Playing Fields

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1709W, on school playing fields, how much was raised; and how much went to the schools concerned. (90537)

The capital receipt expected to be raised from the approved applications is approximately £613 million. However, because of land price changes from the time that consent is given to the time that the land is sold, and also because some sales may not yet have taken place, it is not possible to accurately assess how much capital has been raised or how much money has actually been spent.

However, it is set out in guidance that any sale proceeds must be re-invested to provide new or improved sports facilities at schools.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1709W, on school playing fields, which 10 applications are pending; and for what reasons each sale is being proposed. (90535)

At its meeting on 20 July, the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel determined a further three applications. There are, therefore, now only seven applications still under consideration. These are:

1. Amy Johnson School, Kingston-upon-Hull: This run-down closed school site is to be sold as part of a regeneration of the area. The sale proceeds will be used towards the cost of new sports facilities in the area.

2. Beanfield Community School, Northamptonshire: The sale proceeds from this closed school site will be used to fund the building of a new school.

3. Blackthorne Middle School, Northamptonshire: The proceeds from the sale of this closed school site will be used as a contribution towards a private finance scheme for a school reorganisation.

4. Ecton Brook Middle School, Northamptonshire: The sale proceeds from this closed school site will be used as a contribution towards a private finance scheme for a school reorganisation.

5. Meadway School, Reading: The proceeds from the sale of part of this closed school site will be used towards the cost of providing sports facilities at a new special school that is to be built on that part of the site being retained.

6. Paddock Wood Primary School, Kent: The local authority has applied to sell part of the school’s playing field to fund a new on-site swimming pool and extend the school’s hard play area.

7. Portland School, Nottinghamshire: It is proposed to sell part of the playing field to fund the redevelopment of the school on its existing site with improved sports facilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1709W, on school playing fields, in how many cases selling the playing fields left the establishment without a playing field. (90536)

None. Government policy on school playing fields would not allow an operating school to sell all of its playing fields. Only surplus land may be sold.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1709W, on school playing fields, how many of the playing fields were in urban areas. (90538)

It is not possible to provide a breakdown for urban areas. However, the number of applications received per local authority is as follows:

Local authority

Number

Barking and Dagenham

1

Barnet

1

Bath and North East Somerset

1

Bedfordshire

2

Bexley

1

Birmingham

2

Blackpool

1

Bolton

2

Bracknell Forest

1

Bristol

3

Buckinghamshire

6

Bury

1

Calderdale

1

Cambridgeshire

1

Camden

1

Cheshire

8

City of Derby

2

City of Leicester

1

City of Nottingham

1

Coventry

4

Croydon

1

Cumbria

1

Derbyshire

3

Devon

1

Dorset

3

Dudley

3

Durham

4

Essex

6

Gateshead

1

Gloucestershire

6

Greenwich

1

Halton

1

Hammersmith and Fulham

2

Hampshire

3

Havering

2

Hertfordshire

8

Kent

7

Kingston upon Hull

1

Knowsley

2

Lancashire

4

Leeds

5

Leicestershire

2

Lincolnshire

2

Liverpool

2

Manchester

8

Medway Towns

2

Merton

1

Milton Keynes

4

Newcastle

1

Norfolk

4

North East Lincoln

1

North Lincoln

1

North Tyneside

2

North Yorkshire

2

Northamptonshire

4

Northumberland

2

Nottinghamshire

7

Oldham

1

Oxfordshire

3

Peterborough

5

Reading

1

Redcar and Cleveland

1

Rochdale

3

Salford

3

Sefton

1

Sheffield

1

Shropshire

1

Somerset

2

South Gloucester

1

Southampton

1

Staffordshire

3

Stockton on Tees

1

Surrey

11

Swindon

1

Tameside

1

Telford and Wrekin

1

Trafford

2

Wakefield

3

Walsall

3

Warwickshire

7

West Sussex

3

Wigan

6

Wiltshire

2

Wokingham

4

Wolverhampton

2

Worcestershire

2

York

1

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1709W, on school playing fields, for what reasons sales were (a) rejected and (b) withdrawn. (90539)

Since 1998, of the 228 applications involving the loss of an area of grassed land capable of forming a school sports pitch, two have been rejected and 46 withdrawn. Applications to dispose, or change the use, of school playing fields are considered against strict criteria which are set out in the Department's guidance. Briefly, these are:

(a) school's needs: that playing field provision and curriculum requirements at the school making the disposal, and at other schools in the local area, are met;

(b) community needs: that community use of a school's playing fields is taken into account, with alternative facilities made available if necessary;

(c) finance: that any sale proceeds are reinvested to provide new or improved sports facilities at schools, with priority being given to outdoor sports facilities, or are used to help raise standards by improving educational facilities.

In the case of the two rejected applications, the School Playing Fields Advisory Panel determined, on appeal, that the applications did not meet the published criteria. Applications have been withdrawn either as a result of the panel's preliminary view that the application failed to meet the criteria or as a result of similar advice from officials. In some instances, the applicant itself has withdrawn its application because it realised that it failed to meet the criteria. In every case, however, the reason for withdrawal was that the application failed to meet the criteria for giving consent. A withdrawn case has the same effect as one that is rejected in that the proposed disposal, or change of use, does not happen.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2006, Official Report, column 1709W, on school playing fields, how many of the closing schools were being merged; and how many merged schools received the monies raised by the sales of the playing fields. (90540)

The Department's records do not show which, or how many, of the closed or closing schools were being merged.