Representatives from Stoke Poges and the Parish Council met with Lord Nash at the Department for Education on Tuesday 10 September. This private meeting was at the invitation of Lord Nash and replaced the previously arranged meeting, which he had cancelled due to the presence of the BBC.
The subject of the meeting was the Pioneer House site in Stoke Poges, recently purchased by the Department for Education.
Lord Nash was given a detailed explanation of the contrasting lifestyles and outlooks between rural Stoke Poges and urban Slough and the strong commitment to defend the village from the threat of increased urbanisation from Slough; this proposed development being symptomatic of that threat. The team also clearly articulated the strength of feeling within the village against this development and the way in which it had been imposed.
It was explained to Lord Nash that Slough has alternative and available sites which could be used for secondary schools.
The information provided by Lord Nash can be summarised as follows:
- No decision has yet been made with respect to the long-term future of the Pioneer House site.
- Lord Nash retains an open mind and confirmed that the purpose of the meeting was to gain additional information from and listen to the views of the people of Stoke Poges.
- Slough Borough Council has a statutory duty to provide school places for its pupils.
- Lord Nash is aware of the ‘toxic’ nature of the current situation regarding the use of Pioneer House.
- Lord Nash hopes to make a decision within a month, but that is dependent upon information requested from Slough Borough Council being provided to DfE.