The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly member for South Wales West, Peter Black has called on Wales’ First Minister to clarify the definition of surplus school land so as to prevent valuable playing fields being sold off by local councils.
Speaking in the Senedd today, Mr. Black raised the issue of Pontarddulais Primary School, where Swansea Council is proposing to sell-off so-called surplus land, even though it will mean the school losing half of its rugby pitch. He also called on the First Minister to say when the 2010 Playing Fields Measure will be commenced by the Welsh Government. This Measure introduces more stringent consultation procedures for councils seeking to sell off playing fields for other uses such as housing.
"I recognise that surplus land needs to be sold off, to raise much needed funds to repair other schools, but this should not be at the expense of local school children," said Mr Black. "In the case of the Pontarddulais Primary rugby pitch there is a real question mark over whether this land is surplus or not. This rugby pitch is being used regularly. If it is lost then local children and the whole community will lose out.
"I asked the First Minister today to tell me when the Government propose to commence the Playing Fields Measure 2010, which as its title states, will ensure community involvement in disposal decisions. The First Minister said he would write to confirm the current situation. In the meantime I will continue to support the community of Pontarddulais in retaining this valuable playing field."