MP is ‘un­happy’ after gov­ern­ment re­verses free school decision

In­spec­tor re­fuses per­mis­sion, sec­re­tary grants it

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

AN MP ex­pressed his sur­prise after the gov­ern­ment over­turned an in­spec­tor’s ‘rea­soned’ decision to refuse per­mis­sion for a con­tro­ver­sial free school.

Bea­cons­field MP Do­minic Grieve said he wrote to Eric Pick­les after he over­ruled Ava Wood’s judg­ment to turn down Khalsa Sec­ondary School after a two-day hear­ing in July.

South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil (SBDC) re­fused the ap­pli­ca­tion to change the use of Pi­o­neer House from of­fices to a sec­ondary school in Jan­uary.

Mr Grieve said: “There’s the is­sue of the school stay­ing per­ma­nently, which is now the case un­less there is a ju­di­cial re­view of Eric Pick­les’ decision.

“That’s a mat­ter for dis­trict and parish coun­cil or in­di­vid­u­als to de­cide.

“I have writ­ten to Mr Pick­les and ex­pressed the un­hap­pi­ness at his decision.”

Mr Grieve said it was the one out­come he did not en­vis­age.

The ap­peal was over whether the school could stay with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion, un­der new pow­ers given by gov­ern­ment.

Mr Grieve said he be­lieved it was un­usual if not un­prece­dented for a case like this to be dealt with in this way.

He said: “I felt the in­spec­tor made a rea­soned and log­i­cal ar­gu­ment.

“Through­out this I have told peo­ple and en­cour­aged them to get in­volved with the plan­ning process.

“I can un­der­stand their frus­tra­tion and anger when they have done that and now the decision has been over­ruled.

“It’s bound to them un­sat­is­fied.”

Mr Grieve added he had met ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary Nicky Mor­gan and Lord Nash, who are keen to make the school more ‘at­trac­tive’.

He said: “They ac­knowl­edged the im­pact the school had and that par­ents don’t want to send their chil­dren there, and then the knock-on ef­fect for home to school trans­port.

“I did say that I would


I have writ­ten to Mr Pick­les and ex­pressed the un­hap­pi­ness at his


think the school would have to fun­da­men­tally re­think its ethos if this was to hap­pen.

“That’s not a crit­i­cism of the Sikh ethos but more the feel­ing I have got from the com­mu­nity.”

Vice-chair­man of the parish coun­cil Saera Carter said: “We can look at the pros and cons, the cost, the like­li­hood of win­ning and present this at the pub­lic meet­ing.

“We will do what the vil­lage wants, that may be to chal­lenge this.”

A pub­lic meet­ing was held in St An­drew’s Hall, Rogers Lane, yes­ter­day (Wed­nes­day), after we went to press, to dis­cuss the vil­lage’s next move.

See www.get­ for a re­port on the meet­ing.

Khalsa School com­ment.

Sec­ondary de­clined to

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