THERE have been 63 applications from local authorities and schools to sell playing fields this year, according to education
minister Jacqui Smith.
More than half of local authority areas in England have made no applications since the Government required the state sector to seek the consent of the Secretary of State before selling playing fields in October 1998.
But there has been a stream of applications from some authorities. Surrey has submitted 12 since 1998 and Warwickshire comes scond with 11 applications. Buckinghamshire, Cheshire, Kent share third place with eight applications (see right).
Ms Smith, who was responding to a question from the
Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Tonge, said 40 playing fields a month were being sold before the Government restricted schools' and local authorities' freedom to sell the land. There have been 180 applications since 1998.
Compiled from Hansard by Chris Bunting. Parliamentary Questions can be found at www.parliament.uk