Dean Park cricket ground sold to private school
Bournemouth's Dean Park cricket ground has been taken over by an independent school, allaying fears it could be developed.
Owner Cooper Dean Trust put the site out to tender in May after Bournemouth University said it planned to leave.
Park School, based on the edge of Queen's Park, has taken over the facility, with the sale of the lease completed on Friday morning.
It said it was hoping to work with other local sports organisations.
A spokesman for the school said: "We understand that there has been much concern from local residents worried that the site will be developed for housing.
"We would like to assure all those concerned that, as a school, the Park is not in the business of property development. The field will be for use by the school for sport and outdoor activities.
"The school is also keen to liaise with local cricket and other sporting organisations to explore the possibility of there being joint use of the facility for cricket and other sports."
Campaigners had feared the ground could be bought by developers when a moratorium on its sale expired in June, but the trust dismissed the reports as "nonsense".
Bournemouth University, which has leased the ground since 1995, said it would not be renewing its agreement when it expired in November.
Since the 1870s, the ground, near Bournemouth railway station, has hosted players including the Duke of Edinburgh, WG Grace and world cricket stars.