Both sides hope for favourable ruling
School plans to start new term before decision made about its future in Stoke Poges
A DECISION about whether a controversial free school can stay on what has so far been a temporary site will be made by September.
A hearing into the future of Khalsa Secondary School, in Hollybush Hill, Stoke Poges, was held on July 10 and 11 at South Bucks District Council.
Inspector Ava Woods listened to campaigners, and representatives from the council and Khalsa School, to help her prepare a report which will be sent to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.
The school opened in September last year, despite concerns by campaigners regarding traffic and noise, and claims that the school was not needed.
It has now been confirmed by the planning inspectorate that a decision is expected on or before September 17.
The announcement follows comments by Nick Kandola, chairman of Slough Sikh Trust, that there is no need for an alternative plan, as he is confident that the decision will be in favour of the Khalsa School and the Department for Education (DfE).
A DfE spokesman said: “We aren’t expecting a verdict imminently; it is most likely to be around September or a bit after the children go back to school.”
The school plans to start the new term on September 5 (probably before the decision has been announced).
Campaigners have said they hope the decision will bring an end to a long-running campaign to have the school moved out of their village.
Saera Carter, vice-chairwoman of Stoke Poges Parish Council, said: “I have contacted the Education Funding Agency [an agency of the DfE] and it has said it is holding meetings.
“It is up to the EFA, not the school; it is out of their control as it is the DfE that appealed and controls the building. The EFA have said they are looking at a Plan B in the event it doesn’t go their way, but they are just as confident as we are.”
Stoke Poges councillor Keith Finan speaking after the hearing said: “If there was a decision to be made today it would be done and dusted and we could get on with our lives, but it’s not.
“Instead it will come over in an email or by letter.”