Croydon’s school playing fields have been under threat of being built on by the Labour-run council. Building on green spaces and denying children the opportunity to exercise is a terrible idea. If you oppose this idea, please fill in my petition at www.surveymonkey.com/s/saveourschoolfieldsphilp.
On 17th November, Croydon’s new Labour council approved an “Asset Strategy 2014-2019” stating: “A number of school sites have very large playing fields and ancillary land that may be considered excessive for the number of students that attend the school. Where this may be the case the schools will be identified and opportunities considered for development”.
The Labour councillor directly responsible for this matter, Cllr Simon Hall, was quizzed by Gareth Davies of the Croydon Advertiser and said: “What we want to look at is are there reasons to develop on a particular playing field….We’ve gone through the print out of the size of school sites and there are ones that are very big…some are in the south of the borough…some are in the New Addington area, and so on”
On 1st December, Croydon Conservatives tabled a council motion stating that no playing fields should be built on, but Labour councillors voted it down. Then on 3rd December, the Labour Council Leader suddenly deleted the paragraph in the “Asset Strategy” quoted above but left in other paragraphs which would still allow building housing on school land. These include:
“A review of existing school sites will be undertaken to identify potential opportunities … with pressures relating to Housing and financial resources stretched, further development of existing sites will be critical.”
“Academy schools have generally been granted 125 year leases on full repairing and insuring terms. However, as the freeholder, the Council still retains an interest in both the land and the opportunities that may exist for wider regeneration or development of housing and other Council related service provision where it meets the needs of our communities.”
Building on school fields is an appalling idea. There are plenty of brownfield sites in Croydon suitable for development. What we’re short of is green open spaces.
If you would like the council to remove all references to building housing on school land from the “Asset Strategy” to make absolutely sure that school playing fields are safe. Please complete the petition at www.surveymonkey.com/s/saveourschoolfieldsphilp if you agree.
I will keep those who sign the petition updated on progress with our campaign and other local issues.