Khalsa res­i­dency goes to High Court

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

CAM­PAIGN­ERS hope to have the decision by the Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment to al­low a free school to re­main in their vil­lage over­ruled.

Stoke Po­ges Parish Coun­cil has be­gun le­gal pro­ceed­ings in the High Court to chal­lenge MP Eric Pick­les’ au­tho­ri­sa­tion of the con­tin­ued use of Pi­o­neer House, in Holly­bush Hill, Stoke Po­ges, as a free school.

The Khalsa Sec­ondary School opened in Septem­ber 2013 and cur­rently has a limited in­take of stu­dents but ex­pects to ex­pand to its full ca­pac­ity of more than 900 pupils.

The Depart­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE) ap­plied to South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil for prior ap­proval to en­able the school to con­tinue to op­er­ate from the site us­ing a new law, which re­moved the re­quire­ment for full plan­ning per­mis­sion.

When the coun­cil re­fused the ap­pli­ca­tion, the DfE ap­pealed to the Sec­re­tary of State.

At two-day hear­ing in July led by Plan­ning In­spec­tor Ava Woods, cam­paign­ers voiced their con­cerns about the ef­fects of noise, traf­fic and con­tam­i­na­tion.

Hav­ing heard all the ev­i­dence, the in­spec­tor rec­om­mended re­fusal of the ap­peal on the ba­sis of the po­ten­tial sever­ity of noise from the school on its neigh­bours.

How­ever, Mr Pick­les over­turned this decision on Septem­ber 17, and granted per­mis­sion for the con­tin­ued use of the site by the school.

The parish coun­cil re­leased a state­ment on Tues­day, in which it ar­gues that this ‘decision is un­law­ful on a num­ber of grounds’.

It ex­pects its chal­lenge to be con­sid­ered by the High Court late this year or early next year.

The coun­cil added that it will not be com­ment­ing fur­ther un­til the claim comes to the High Court.

Khalsa Sec­ondary School de­clined to com­ment.

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