Stoke Poges Parish Council has today issued legal proceedings in the High Court challenging the decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Eric Pickles) to authorise the continued use of Pioneer House in Stoke Poges as a Free School. The Khalsa Secondary School (“the School”) is currently operating on the site with a limited intake of students but expects to expand to a full role of over 900 pupils in the coming years.
The Department for Education applied to South Bucks District Council for “prior approval” to enable the School to continue to operate from the site under General Permitted Development Rights. The Council refused that application and the DfE appealed to the Secretary of State. A two day hearing took place before an experienced Planning Inspector in July 2014. Having heard all of the evidence, including the Parish Council’s submissions and the views of local residents, the Inspector recommended refusal of the appeal on the basis of the severity of the noise impact of the School on local residents.
However, on 17 September, the Secretary of State over-ruled the Inspector’s findings and granted prior approval for the continued use of the School on the site. The Parish Council argues that this decision is unlawful on a number of grounds, and expects the challenge to be considered by the High Court late this year or early next.
The parish council will not be commenting further until the claim comes to the High Court and it will issue a further press release at that time.