Change in school playing field regulations could affect development

Change in school playing field regulations could affect development

Justin Burns

Change in school playing field regulations could affect development
Windsor Girls' School

A plot of land has been earmarked by the council for use by Windsor Girls' School if new playing field regulations scupper development plans.

The Imperial Road school is awaiting a verdict from the Government on whether it can sell a piece of land on the site to help fund a £1.3million sports hall.

As of January 2013 new guidance regulations will come into affect on the minimum requirement for playing field space schools must have.

New rules could mean it cannot sell the land, but the Royal Borough says it would be able to use a piece of land it owns nearby, to boost the amount it has.

Members of the Royal Borough's children's services overview and scrutiny panel discussed the issue on Monday night at Maidenhead Town Hall.

Cllr Eileen Quick, cabinet member for children's services, said a contingency plan is in place if the sale is not approved.

She said: "This move [by the government] would stand in the way of having additional sports facilities at Windsor Girls'.

"The school could use land adjacent to the site owned by the borough if it cannot sell it."

Regulations as to the definition of suitable land deemed as part of the requirement are still unclear until guidance is given before January.

Government chiefs say it will give schools more flexibility on how they use their land as it will be 'less prescriptive'.

Cllr Quick added she hopes it will make it easier for schools to make use of the land they have, but it is 'impossible' to know at this stage.

If Windsor Girls' School is given the go-ahead to sell the land, money from its sale will be used with cash reserves to build a state-of-the-art sports hall.

Chiefs at the 690-student Imperial Road school were given permission in March to build the facility, which will also be accessible to the wider community.

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