CHAL­LENGE TO FU­TURE OF KHALSA

Par­ish coun­cil’s bid for High Court hear­ing over school

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by Jack Abell jack.abell@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Jack­_84_A­bell

STOKE Po­ges Par­ish Coun­cil has launched a new chal­lenge in the high Court against the de­ci­sion to al­low the Khalsa Sec­ondary Academy to con­tinue op­er­at­ing in the village.

Ear­lier this year, com­mu­ni­ties sec­re­tary Greg Clark ap­proved the free school, which has a Sikh ethos, to re­main at Pi­o­neer House in Stoke Po­ges.

The coun­cil has now ap­pealed to the High Court, aim­ing to over­turn the de­ci­sion, which it be­lieves is un­law­ful.

Vil­lagers have long been op­posed to the school, which they be­lieve causes traf­fic and noise is­sues, and is too big for Stoke Po­ges to ac­com­mo­date.

The school has been at the site since 2013, ini­tially on a tem­po­rary ba­sis.

In 2014, South Bucks Dis­trict Coun­cil turned down an ap­pli­ca­tion by the Depart­ment for Education to con­vert the build­ing’s tem­po­rary use as a free school into a per­ma­nent one, on the grounds of its noise im­pact.

An ap­peal later that year up­held the de­ci­sion but this was then over­turned by the govern­ment, and the school was al­lowed to con­tinue us­ing the site.

How­ever, this was then chal­lenged by the par­ish and dis­trict coun­cils and the de­ci­sion was over­turned in the High Court in March last year.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was re­con­sid­ered by Mr Clark who even­tu­ally ruled ex­ter­nal lev­els of noise would be ac­cept­able, and in­ter­nal noise lev­els “would not give rise to sig­nif­i­cant ad­verse im­pacts to health and qual­ity of life”, but did agree noise lev­els from the site should be lim­ited.

A statement from the par­ish coun­cil said: “The de­ci­sion, which the par­ish coun­cil be­lieves may be un­law­ful, fur­ther demon­strates this govern­ment’s view in cham­pi­oning lo­cal­ism while si­mul­ta­ne­ously im­pos­ing a sec­ondary school on a small com­mu­nity which has fought against it for more than three years.” A de­ci­sion on whether to al­low the par­ish coun­cil’s ap­peal will be made in the com­ing weeks.

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