Can the Department provide information regarding the amount of land that was sold from Auriol School and Mead Infants School in Epsom? How much of the land was deemed school playing fields, and whether monies received from the sale of playing fields had been used for the benefits of the two schools?
The Department can confirm the area of playing field land that Surrey County Council is permitted to sell measures 615m² and is described as habitat space. The total area of land the Council proposed to dispose of, including non-playing field land, measures 4,684m².
The council successfully applied, in November 2006, for a general consent to replace the habitat space with a larger area of habitat land elsewhere within the school’s boundary. The effect of a general consent is that, where certain circumstances apply, and where any conditions are met, the specific prior consent of the Secretary of State will not be required under section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. There is no requirement for the council to specify how it intends to use the sale proceeds resulting from the disposal of any playing field land where a general consent applies to that proposal.
The Schedule 35A approval was needed to dispose of all of the land. Schedule 35A of the Education Act 1996 (as inserted by Schedule 7 to the Education Act 2002) protects all land at maintained schools that may be needed for the purposes of an academy. It was determined that none of the land at the above schools was needed for an academy.