Minister tells us 'youngsters don't want soggy school fields'
BLUNDERING Sports Minister Richard Caborn yesterday admitted the Government was still selling off school playing fields. He said children no longer wanted soggy outdoor pitches. And 213 have been sold off since October 1998.
Instead Mr Caborn said £750million was earmarked for high tech sports halls and all weather pitches. He said: "Our investment is not into soggy fields but actually state-of-the-art artificial pitches, AstroTurf. "We are looking at how we can floodlight, how we can make facilities available seven days a week."
But campaign groups were furious. Elsa Davies, of the National Playing Fields Association, said: "What children want is land where they have the right to play. "It is all very well the minister saying that children don't like playing on soggy pitches but building on them is not the answer. "Too much emphasis is being placed on providing indoor sports facilities."
Last year, there were 1,297 applications to build on fields - up from 590 in 1998.
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