Decision date for free school
Campaigners will have to wait until September
A DECISION on whether a controversial free school can stay in a village is set to be made in September, campaigners have been told.
The office for new local government minister Greg Clark has written to campaigners in Stoke Poges to tell them that a decision on the Khalsa Secondary School in Hollybush Hill, Stoke Poges will be made on September 8.
The Sikh faith school, which is open to children of all religious backgrounds, has been operating at the site since September 2013 and has had a long battle to remain there, following opposition from people living in the village who believe that it has created too much noise and traffic.
Former local government minister Eric Pickles over ruled a planning inspector’s findings which had said that there were issues with building the site in Stoke Poges relating to noise levels created by the school.
However, earlier this year, he admitted that he had ‘erred’ in this decision, and that he had ‘misinterpreted’ and ‘misunderstood’ the findings.
The move meant that the battle for the school’s future did not end up going to the High Court, as it had been due to, with campaigners at the time crying victory.
Despite this however, there is still uncertainty over the future of the school. Last month the department for local government and communities wrote to campaigners to let them know the decision date.
It says: “Having given careful considerations to all the representations before him, the secretary of state takes the view that there are no substantive issues that require an inquiry to be held. In accordance with Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the secretary of state will issue his decision on or, if possible, before Tuesday, 8 September 2015.”
Parish councillor Saera Carter, who has campaigned against the school, said: “We’ve really got no idea what will happen, or had any indication.
“We will just have to wait and see. Depending on the decision, we’ll then decide what to do next.”
The school was unavailable for comment as we went to press.
OBJECTIONS: Campaigners against Stoke Poges' free school, Khalsa Secondary Academy