School’s playing fields for sale in St Albans
PUBLISHED: 09:33 19 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:33 19 February 2014
A “for sale” sign has been put on a St Albans secondary school’s playing fields, with developers apparently showing a keen interest.
Nearly three hectares of Beaumont School’s fields are being sold for housing to help pay for an expansion at the Oakwood Drive site.
The sale comes two years after the school gained approval to have up to 75 homes built on the Green Belt after a planning inspector overturned St Albans district council’s rejection of the scheme.
A spokeswoman for Herts county council (HCC), which owns the school site, said the authority was pleased with the level of interest in the land from developers.
Proceeds from the sale of the playing fields will be used to pay for new facilities at Beaumont, including new pedestrian and cycle links.
Also, pupils will be provided with new playing fields on a site nearby, owned by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
However construction of the new fields will not start until planning consent has been granted by the district council.
Chair of governors at Beaumont, Alex Hall, said: “With the sale of part of the old playing field, we will unlock funding for sporting and educational facilities that will be fit for the 21st century and available for use by both students and the local community.”
The fields will include a floodlit all-weather pitch, also available for community use, and an additional games hard play area.
Diggers have gone onto the new playing field site to the east of Beaumont, to begin preparation work for the start of an investigative grounds survey.
Mr Hall said the school was working closely with HCC contractors on the fields’ design. Once these are agreed, the plans will be submitted for permission.
It is anticipated that terms for the sale of the existing fields will be agreed with the preferred bidder by June, with work on the new pitches hoped to start in July.
Planning and construction of the housing development is expected to start from October 2015.
Building of the school’s new sports hall and other buildings should begin around the same time.
Headteacher Elizabeth Hitch said: “We are looking forward to being able to offer even better facilities to our students in future years.”
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