EDUCATION chiefs have backed the sale of a Hampshire secondary school’s playing field to a housing developer as part of a land swap.

Linden Homes want to build 75 new homes in the field belonging to Swanmore College of Technology in New Road.

As part of the deal, the school will a new field of a similar size next to the school which is out of bounds to builders as it is in a strategic green gap.

The Department of Education – which has come under fire for allowing the sale of school playing fields – had already approved the plans.

Now a panel of county councillors has backed the sale on condition all money raised is used to develop the new field into an all-weather sports pitch with floodlighting and grass rugby pitch at an estimated cost of £1.1m.

A report to the buildings, land and procurements panel, said the multi-use sport pitch will be available for evening and weekend use.

Officers said the new sports pitches will enhance facilities for both the school and local community.
Councillors heard the existing school playing field suffers from poor drainage.

The proposals include a new footpath link from the pitches to the school buildings as well as trees and hedgerows to provide screening.

Linden Homes still has to submit a planning application for the 75 new homes and multi-use sports facilities to Winchester City Council.