Education: News In Brief
Friday, July 16, 1999 Published at 07:33 GMT 08:33 UK
Playing fields saved by minister
The sale of school playing fields in Dorset has been stopped, as the government puts into practice regulations designed to protect playing fields from redevelopment.
The Schools Minister Charles Clarke has refused an application from Dorset County Council to sell a former school's playing fields in Sherborne for use as land for housing.
"This government believes playing fields are an invaluable resource. As well as providing an outdoor classroom, they add to local people's quality of life. Their loss almost always causes widespread concern," said Mr Clarke.
Last month the government announced measures designed to stop the sell-off of playing fields, with tough restrictions on applications for redevelopment of land.
Before 1997, the sale of school playing fields were running at 40 a month, a figure pushed up by schools seeking extra funds and the pressure to find sites for housing development.