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Selling of playing fields must stop

A future government should co-ordinate a policy for sport and recreation across Whitehall departments; ensure that each child has a minimum of two hours a week physical education; and repeal the regulations which allow the sale of playing fields, says the Central Council of Physical Recreation.

In A Manifesto for Sport, released at its annual conference last week, the council calls for more lottery money to be given to school and youth sport, especially for training teachers as coaches.

The CCPR and the National Playing Fields Association are concerned about the continuing loss of play-ing fields. They are sceptical of local authorities and schools who claim that the fields are surplus to requirements as they fail to take into account likely increases in school rolls or the needs of the local communities. The DES Regulation 909, which encourages the sale of playing fields, should be repealed, they say.

This 1981 regulation was renewed earlier this year despite the Prime Minister's and the Sports Minister's appeal to councils to halt their sale. The Government gave the Sports Council statutory consultee status this summer over the sale of playing fields, but the two organisations argue that cash-strapped councils will be forced to carry on selling them as long as the regulation exists.

The manifesto also says that the Government's responsibilities for sport should be rationalised to produce coherent policies, with recognition given to the role of local authorities and voluntary clubs.

A Manifesto for Sport is available from the CCPR, Francis House, Francis Street, London SW1P 1DE

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