MP: School is on land ‘unlawfully’
Dominic Grieve weighs in to debate as minister delays Khalsa decision
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.