Selling Off Playing Fields Is That an Olympic Legacy?

Save Elliott School campaigners continue to fight the sale

In July we reported that ministers had approved proposals to sell off a London school's playing fields, including six tennis courts and a football pitch, despite UK plans to maintain an Olympic legacy following the closure of the 2012 Olympic games.

The campaigners say that they have 14 reasons why residents should sign their petitions to fight the sale of playing fields:

1 - £millions might be saved on the cost of the refurbishment if the contract were put out to formal tender

2 - Land sale is an avoidance of legal responsibility and an unsustainable solution

3 - The size of the playing fields left after sale falls below the minimum recommended by the DfE

4 - The educational benefits derived from outdoor space have been proven by countless academic studies and Government reports

5 - The loss of land will forever blight the architecture of the site and our national heritage

6 - The Secretary of State for Education’s criteria for consent under Section 77 have ‘a general presumption against the need to change the current pattern of school playing field provision by disposal or change of use’. In fact, ‘as a precondition of applying for his consent, the Secretary of State expects applicants to present evidence that they have exhausted other reasonable avenues of funding before resorting to selling playing fields, particularly at operating schools’. This has not happened.

7 - Commercialisation of Elliott’s existing assets will, instead, maintain the school for the long term and better embed it into the local community

8 - A fundraising campaign is a realistic, serious alternative

9 - To delay the decision on land sale now for two years and seek alternative funding whilst refurbishment begins costs less than what has already been risked! Moreover, it is proof that derailing the current plans need not adversely affect the school.

10 - Wandsworth has both the assets and the financial flexibility to pay for the school’s refurbishment itself, if it wanted to

11 - The value of a good state school far outweighs the costs to the council taxpayer

12 - The social cost of poor education is more expensive than funding education directly

13 - No option was ever presented to the people of Wandsworth to pay for the refurbishment of their school

14 - WBC is blankly refusing to engage in constructive dialogue

There are two petitions that residents can sign:
- 38 Degrees:

- Government e-petition:

Ex pupil & campaigner Ed Lattimore believes that Elliott losing 46% of its playing fields is "an Olympic story" when ex Elliott school pupil Fara Williams played in the Team GB woman's football team. He told
"'Future gold medals rely on the next generation of Olympians growing up with playing fields."

The proposal to dispose of the land to fund the improvements is expected to be considered by councillors at the August 21 meeting of the finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee. The final decision will then be taken by the council’s executive.

August 13, 2012