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Rate of school field sell-offs doubles in past two years

Highfield Community Primary School in Blacon was first school in Chester to sell off land

Inside one of the new classrooms that has been delivered to Highfield Primary School in Blacon

The coalition government has approved the sale of playing field land from four Chester schools in the past five years.

Highfield Primary School in Blacon was the first to sell off land after their application was approved by the Education Funding Authority in September 2010.

The school sold off playing fields it deemed to be surplus to requirements, planning to spend the proceeds on extending the school building. In February this year the school took delivery of 36 new modular style build classrooms that will feature in the new build.

Gorsthills Primary School in Great Sutton was successful at the second attempt to secure permission to sell off land in May 2012 from a part of the school that had previously closed.

Then in 2014 two schools - Acorns Primary and Nursery School in Ellesmere Port and Handley Hill Primary School in Winsford- both sold land from sites that had fallen into disrepair with Cheshire West and Chester council intending to use the money to benefit other schools in the area.

Since the coalition came to power in May 2010, approval has been given to 100 schools to sell off some or all of their land.

This process has accelerated greatly in the past two years with the number of school fields being sold off every month between January 2013 and January 2015, double what it was during the first half of the parliament.

Between April 2010 and December 2012, 36 sales of school land were approved at a rate of 1.2 sales every month.

However, since then there have been 64 school field sales at a rate of 2.6 a month with more than three sales a month being approved by the government in 2013.

Of the schools who have sold off land since May 2010, 60 did so as part of a relocation or closure.

In order to be sold, the local authority running the school must instigate the procedure and submit a case to the Department of Education explaining why they feel their land should be sold.

Since May 2010, only six applications have been refused.

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