Continued playing field loss lamented

Sector berates Government for post-Olympic Games talk of sporting legacy while sanctioning sale of school playing fields.

Green-space leaders have criticised the Government for preaching about a sporting legacy from the Olympics while allowing the wide-scale sale of school playing fields.

They spoke out after the Department for Education released details of 21 school pitches sold since the coalition came to power.

It follows comments by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt that the Olympics were inspiring millions of young people. But the Government has abolished the need for at least two hours of school sport a week and continues to sell off pitches.

Lost in the past two years were pitches at Beaver Green School in Kent, High View School, Plymouth, Kingsbury School, Brent, and Lord Lawson of Beamish School, Gateshead. Some of the land was sold for development, others to build new pavilions.

Parks consultant Sid Sullivan said: "The Government says the Olympics are important as a sporting legacy while we will allow playing fields to be sold off. The other problem is local planning officers allowing permission, giving value to the land."

He suggested that friends groups could take over school sports pitches and added that house values near sports fields are even higher than homes near parks because pitches lay mostly empty.

Bury Council parks and countryside manager and former chair of GreenSpace North West Mike Bent said: "It's important for school fields to be included in local authority green-space strategies to ensure that any loss is replaced like for like."

Fields in Trust chief executive Alison Moore-Gwyn said: "Funding is important as is time in the school curriculum for sports. But safeguarding the spaces children can discover and hone their talent is absolutely vital. The sale of school playing fields jeopardises Britain's longer-term sporting success."

But a Department for Education spokeswoman said: "We will only agree to the sale of school playing fields if the sports and curriculum needs of schools and their neighbouring schools can continue to be met.

"Proceeds must be used to improve sports or education facilities and any new sports facilities must be sustainable for 10 years. All sites disposed of under this Government have been because the school has closed, the sites became surplus to needs or the proceeds were needed to modernise sports provision."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

Sargent's solutions - how to attract the best staff for your business

There are ways to find quality candidates for horticultural jobs if you widen your search parameters, Alan Sargent suggests.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

IoG Saltex 2017 - Kit showcase

Mowers, turf care, battery equipment, seeds, arboriculture kit and weed control will all see a wide range of new releases at Saltex, Sally Drury reports.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

IOG Saltex

Get set for IoG Saltex 2017 with our comprehensive show guide and exhibitor info.

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

BALI National Landscape Awards 2016

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer