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Sale of Rosebery Playing Field challenged by Liberal Democrats

July 18, 2005 1:30 PM
Turkey Oak on Cabbage Patch

This preserved Turkey Oak is on land that Rosebery school proposes to sell.

Steve Dixon, the Chairman of Epsom & Ewell Liberal Democrats, has asked the Secretary of State, via the Department for Education and Science (Schools Division), to review the decision to permit the sale of land at Rosebery School. The site, known locally as the "Cabbage Patch", is currently the subject of a controversial planning application that would include the building of 72 dwellings with access from Rosebank.

Press spokesman Julie Morris said "Obviously we support Rosebery's plans to provide better sports facilities for its pupils. However, we are concerned that selling off part of their land is not the best way of doing this, when they are already short of space for sports."

The letter, which was sent last week, asks for an Administrative Review by the Secretary of State of the decision for consent to the sale of land. The challenge from the Lib Dems is on three grounds:

  • The school has not been asked to provide estimates for making the whole of the current site usable.
  • The extent of consultation undertaken was insufficient and not in accordance with stated requirements.
  • The school was, and is, being permitted to operate well below the recommended size of school playing field area and with pupil numbers rising to around 1500 in the future, this will worsen.

"There are a number of technical points being challenged as well" said Ms Morris. "For example, the sale price of not less than £1.4m set in 2000 was not made to take account of inflation and rising land values"

Although this challenge is separate from any consideration of the merits of the current planning application, local Lib Dem councillors have distanced themselves from the action being taken by their local party, in order not to rule themselves out from taking part in the debate when the Planning Application is heard by the borough council..

Steve Dixon has asked for a response to his letter, also sent by e mail, within fourteen days. Local residents will be kept informed via the press and our FOCUS newsletters.