Le­gal ad­vice sought over Khalsa ap­proval

Sec­re­tary of State crit­i­cised for free school decision

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Jo-Anne Rowney jo-anne.rowney@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CAM­PAIGN­ERS have said they are tak­ing le­gal ad­vice fol­low­ing the Sec­re­tary of State’s decision in favour of a free school.

Stoke Po­ges Parish Coun­cil has said it is con­sid­er­ing what step to take next after Eric Pick­les’ decision in favour of Khalsa Sec­ondary School, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of which have said they are ‘de­lighted’.

Sec­re­tary of State for Ed­u­ca­tion Michael Gove ap­pealed a decision made by South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil (SBDC) in Jan­uary to re­ject a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion to change Pi­o­neer House, in Holly­bush Hill, from an of­fice into a per­ma­nent school site.

The school was based at the site on a tem­po­rary agree­ment with the Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion, which ended in July.

In­spec­tor Ava Wood heard both sides of the ar­gu­ment in July at a plan­ning hear­ing at the dis­trict coun­cil of­fices be­fore writ­ing a re­port ad­vis­ing Mr Pick­les.

Now he has ruled the school can stay de­spite cam­paign­ers’ con­cerns over traf­fic, noise and con­tam­i­na­tion.

Vice-chair­man of the parish coun­cil Saera Carter said: “We are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed that the Sec­re­tary of State has cho­sen to ap­prove this ap­pli­ca­tion.

“He has shown com­plete dis­re­gard for the demo­cratic process or the Tory’s flag­ship lo­cal­ism pol­icy and has run roughshod over the

He has shown com­plete dis­re­gard

for the demo­cratic process or the Tory’s flag­ship

lo­cal­ism pol­icy”

per­fectly valid and rea­son­able ob­jec­tions from the res­i­dents of Stoke Po­ges.

“He has also over­ruled the pro­fes­sional ad­vice of a se­nior and highly ex­pe­ri­enced plan­ning in­spec­tor and has com­pletely ig­nored the dis­trict coun­cil’s rea­sons for re­ject­ing this ap­pli­ca­tion.

“We are now tak­ing le­gal ad­vice to un­der­stand our next steps as we be­lieve the Sec­re­tary of State’s decision may not be legally sound.”

De­spite cam­paign­ers’ dis­ap­point­ment the chair­man of the Slough Sikh Ed­u­ca­tion Trust, Nick Kan­dola, said: “We are nat­u­rally de­lighted with the decision for the school to re­main per­ma­nently Pi­o­neer House.

“This has been a long jour­ney for par­ents, pupils, staff and sup­port­ers of the school.

“There will be par­ents who were un­sure whether to send their chil­dren to the school due to the un­cer­tainty and we would like to re­mind those par­ents that we have a few places re­main­ing and in­vite them to con­tact us.”

What do you think of the decision? Email buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth. co.uk or tweet us @Get_ Bucks.

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