MP is ‘unhappy’ after government reverses free school decision
Inspector refuses permission, secretary grants it
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.getbucks.co.uk for a report on the meeting.
Khalsa School comment.
Secondary declined to