Playgrounds put on hold as grants take a slide

Hundreds of playground developments are being mothballed following government spending cuts.

The Department for Education (DfE) has frozen grants to 132 local councils for up to 1,300 play area schemes – many of which were originally designed by children.

The only developments allowed to go ahead will be those where construction has already started.

It is unclear how many planned playgrounds will now be scrapped.

A DfE spokesman said the Government put plans on hold after it inherited "unrealistic spending commitments", insisting it was committed to "realistic and affordable" investment.

The £235m Playbuilder scheme, which started more than two years ago, was designed to develop 3,500 community playgrounds. Each local council was given funding to build 22 play areas by 2011.

But the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has singled out play as a target for cuts in order to protect frontline education services. He has also scrapped government targets for the number of play facilities councils must provide.