High court battle for school site
A PARISH Council is set to return to the High Court for a second time in a landmark battle with the government over a free school.
Stoke Poges Parish Council (SPPC) will challenge a decision to allow Khalsa Secondary School in Hollybush Hill to be built, with the case to be heard on Tuesday July 12 and Wednesday July 13.
Both SPPC and South Bucks District Council (SBDC) refused planning permission for a secondary school to be built three years ago, a decision which was upheld by the Planning Inspectorate.
The former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, overruled that decision, before overturning his own decision in March last year after admitting he ‘erred’ in allowing the school to stay.
But in a blow to campaigners, in February current communities secretary Greg Clerk allowed the school to stay on the site.
Open to children of all religious backgrounds, the school has battled with opposition from people living in the village who believe the it is wrongly located, causing too much noise and traffic.
People have also raised concerns that the school is ‘illegal’, as the current planning application is temporary and expired in July 2014, with Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve saying he is ‘sympathetic’ to the parish council.
It is said to be the first case of its kind challenging the government’s Free School Policy and the court will hear separate challenges from SPPC and SBDC.
Leading campaigner and vice chairman of SPPC Saera Carter said: “We are delighted that we finally have a date in the High Court for the village of Stoke Poges to have its voice heard.
“The Government has completely ignored the perfectly fair and reasonable arguments against siting a Secondary School in this beautiful Green Belt Buckinghamshire village, and we look forward to being able to present our case to a Judge – whom we trust will agree with the District Council and the Planning Inspector to refuse prior approval for this school.”