MP: School is on land ‘un­law­fully’

Do­minic Grieve weighs in to de­bate as min­is­ter de­lays Khalsa de­ci­sion

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By Amita Joshi amita.joshi@trin­i­tymir­

BEA­CONS­FIELD MP Do­minic Grieve has said the Khalsa Sec­ondary School is oc­cu­py­ing land in Stoke Poges ‘un­law­fully’.

A de­ci­sion on whether to re­lo­cate the school has been de­layed by the Sec­re­tary of State and Con­ser­va­tive Mr Grieve, said: “The school is es­sen­tially oc­cu­py­ing the land un­law­fully, but un­til the Sec­re­tary of State makes a de­ci­sion there is not much that can be done.

“Even if the school does stay in its cur­rent lo­ca­tion there might be fur­ther le­gal chal­lenges and all sorts.”

The rea­son, he ar­gued, that the school can be said to be il­le­gally on the land is be­cause its ini­tial tem­po­rary agree­ment ex­pired in July last year and has not been re­newed.

Mr Grieve added: “I have al­ready con­tacted the Sec­re­tary of State and I’m not clear why they set the date for Septem­ber 8 as a dead­line to re­solve this. I’m sym­pa­thetic with Stoke Poges Parish Coun­cil and it’s odd and un­sat­is­fac­tory.”

The Sec­re­tary of State for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Greg Clark MP wrote to the parish coun­cil in July to tell coun­cil­lors a de­ci­sion would be made on Tues­day Septem­ber­would Depart­men­tLo­cal How­ever,be Govern­men­tre­lo­cated.8 as a for to spokesman Com­mu­ni­tieswhether­said this the for school week: and the “Thisby is­sued min­is­ters­mat­teras soon is an­das still pos­si­ble.”un­der a de­ci­sion con­sid­er­a­tionwill be

back­grounds,Open to chil­dren­the schoolof hi­er­ar­chyall re­li­gious has bat­tled with vil­lagers who be­lieve it is wrongly lo­cated, caus­ing too much noise and traf­fic. Ear­lier this year, cam­paign­ers wel­comed the news that they would not have to take the case to the High Court af­ter for­mer min­is­ter Eric Pick­les ad­mit­ted he had “erred” in re­mainthe open Buthis is­sue let­ter de­ci­sion­ten­sionin re­main­sS­toketo hasMrto Poges. un­solved,al­lowrisen Clark, on­cethe Stoke and school again Po­gesin anas to Parish dis­ap­point­ment Coun­cil with has the ex­pressed­set­back. its The coun­cil said: “This un­ac­cept­able de­lay and pro­longed un­cer­tainty means the idyl­lic green­belt vil­lage of Stoke Poges con­tin­ues to be blighted by a grow­ing sec­ondary school, which has had a ma­jor im­pact on the lives of those who live close to the school. “In fact, the in­de­pen­dent plan­ning in­spec­tor who agreed with the parish and dis­trict coun­cils that Stoke Poges was a wholly un­suit­able lo­ca­tion for a sec­ondary school of 850 pupils, de­clared that such a school would make the houses im­me­di­ately ad­ja­cent un­fit for hu­man habi­ta­tion”.

In the let­ter, cam­paign­ers firmly re­main of the view that ‘the le­gal au­thor­ity to re­main on the land is well be­yond the ini­tial 12-month tem­po­rary per­mis­sion al­lowed’, and have called on the Sec­re­tary of State to re­solve the is­sue im­me­di­ately.

The chair­man of gover­nors at Khalsa Sec­ondary Academy, Mr Nick Singh Kan­dola, said: “We are ob­vi­ously dis­ap­pointed that there is a de­lay in the plan­ning process and hope that a pos­i­tive de­ci­sion will be made as soon as pos­si­ble. The Academy has been on its present site for more than two years and the pupils and par­ents are happy with the school.”

Parish coun­cil­lor and cam­paigner, Saera Carter, said vil­lage cam­paign­ers are frus­trated at not be­ing given a rea­son for the de­lay.

“Not only is it a loss of green­belt and that we don’t want ur­ban­i­sa­tion, but there’s been a loss of peace in the vil­lage” she said.

“They [the Academy] have said it’s a race is­sue and I’ve re­ceived Twit­ter abuse ac­cus­ing me of be­ing a Mus­lim against Sikhs. We just want the vil­lage to be pre­served and will con­tinue to place po­lit­i­cal pres­sure.”

FRUS­TRATED WITH DE­LAY: Cam­paign­ers protest against the Khalsa Sec­ondary Academy free school re­main­ing in Stoke Poges.

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