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GOVERNMENT DOES U-TURN ON SALE OF SCHOOL FIELDS

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A threatened playing field in Dorset, which has for seven years been regarded as a test case for the issue of selli...
A threatened playing field in Dorset, which has for seven years been regarded as a test case for the issue of selling of sports facilities, is to be sold for housing, reported The Sunday Telegraph (p24).

Education secretary Estelle Morris has reversed a judgment by her predecessor David Blunkett, who ruled that nine acres of football and cricket pitches and a running track in Sherbourne should be saved. In a move described by former sports minister Kate Hoey as 'absolutely outrageous', the department of education and skills has approved the sale.

The department has sanctioned the sale of 161 out of 167 applications to sell children's playing fields in the past three years.

The latest decision on Foster's Field in Sherbourne comes after a seven year battle between Dorset CC, which wants to raise£5m by selling the land for private housing and local people who have protested that it is the only green space in the town. Despite every planning application for the field being turned down, the county council refused to give up and appealed to the government.

Two years ago Mr Blunkett ruled the field should not be sold, but the county council simply appealed again.
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