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Playing Fields: Schools

Volume 502: debated on Monday 14 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department has taken to restrict the sale of school playing fields by local authorities; and if he will make a statement. (302345)

I have been asked to reply.

Since the introduction of legislation in 1998, under section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act, all schools and local authorities in England have needed the Secretary of State's written consent before they can sell a school playing field or any part of a school playing field. A sale is only allowed if the playing field in question is genuinely surplus to schools needs and any community groups that may happen to use them. Also, all of the proceeds of sale must be used to improve school sports provision in the first instance. Only when it has been demonstrated that no sports facilities are needed can the proceeds be used for other educational facilities.