School Playing Fields are not 'Surplus Land' - Stop the Cuts!
9th December 2014
Close to 100 concerned parents of school students, local residents and political representatives came to Parkland School Hall last night to discuss how to fight the Council's plans to sell off a large part of the school playing fields.
Members of the action committee showed how the Council seems to have rushed proposals and failed to consult properly. The Council seem to have ignored guidelines on how much space for play there should be for the number of pupils in the School and there is more than a suspicion that the Council has ridden roughshod over due process.
Swansea is the first council in Wales to adopt the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Despite being proud of this status, the Council hasn't asked the opinion of school pupils at all on these changes that will have a detrimental effect on the quality of their environment.
The rushing of these proposals is directly due to Labour's acceptance of Con-Dem cuts. Despite Welsh Labour leading the Welsh Government and half the councils in Wales they've simply been a conveyor belt to transmit Westminster cuts.
Labour hopes and expects to lead the next government after the general election in May but nobody expects that to make any difference to funding of council services. Swansea's Labour councillors are currently considering in Cabinet, proposals for £81 million of cuts to jobs and services in the next 3 years. They've watered down their pledge to protect the schools and education budget to a promise of "relative protection". That translates to a 15% cut or a £24 million reduction in funding for our children's education.
Some Labour councillors have tried to portray the sale of these playing fields as disposing of "surplus land" to fund school building improvements. The place where my child plays, learns and develops is not "surplus land". If councillors thought that this would be a soft target then they are very much mistaken. Parents, pupils and local residents will fight them all the way.