The Parish Council has this morning sent the following statement to local media:
Stoke Poges Parish Council and residents of the village have vowed to maintain their campaign against a Secondary School being permanently sited in the Green Belt of their historic rural village. This is despite the DfE’s ill-informed decision to locate a Secondary School at the Pioneer House site in Stoke Poges for a year, under recently introduced “Permitted Development Rights” legislation which gave the Secretary of State the power to grant permission for any building to be used as a school for 12 months.
Saera Carter, Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council, commented: “We are extremely disappointed that a school catering primarily for Slough’s need has been imposed on a village that doesn’t want or need a secondary school. This whole process has been completely flawed and residents of the village feel like their views and opinions have been ignored by the Department for Education, despite assurances from Lord Nash that the democratic process would be respected.”
The Parish Council is confident that the legislation only grants use of a site for 12 months and is optimistic that the Department for Education will see sense and find locations in Slough to meet the educational needs of the children of Slough. The residents of Stoke Poges will continue their campaign of lobbying the Department for Education, Dominic Grieve MP and other elected representatives, whilst the Parish Council retains its mandate from the village to resort to a legal challenge should it be necessary.
The Parish Council has been informed that the Secretary of State has signed a funding agreement with Slough Sikh Education Trust.
The Council’s legal team are waiting to receive a copy of the document so that they can scrutinise it for indications of DfE’s intentions for the school’s permanent site and for the opportunity to mount a legal challenge.
Bucks County Council has arranged a fun session at Dorney Lake for local young people, aged 11 to 18 years. To be held on Monday 2 September, participants will be collected by coach from Stoke Poges at 11.30 am, arriving back at 4.30 pm. Whilst at Dorney Lake, they will take part in bell boating and raft racing activities. A £5 contribution towards the costs is required.
To attend, download and complete the form below and return it in an envelope with your £5 payment to the Stoke Poges Chemist shop by Friday 23 August.
News has reached the Council that Cllr Ray Aldridge sadly passed away on Saturday 27 July.
Ray was elected as a parish councillor in 1995 and has served Stoke Poges as Chairman of the Recreation and Environment Committee, as Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and as Vice Chairman of the Council.
Ray’s knowledge of the village and our parishioners was invaluable. Ray was always a dependable and committed member of the volunteer teams organising and setting up parish events including ‘Carols on the Green’ and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and showed a strong sense of duty and commitment. He was always one the first helpers to arrive to set up, and he would be there working cheerfully until everything was packed up and tidied away.
Ray will be sadly missed and his family are in our thoughts. The Union Flag at the corner of Hollybush Hill and Bells Hill will fly at half mast in Ray’s honour.
Following the Secretary of State’s decision on Pioneer House, the Parish Council has been in detailed discussions with its legal advisors.
Councillors are disappointed that the Department for Education has pressed ahead against the wishes of the majority of Stoke Poges residents.
Councillors are optimistic that Khalsa Secondary Academy will be relocated to a permanent site in Slough as their trustee’s lack of respect for Stoke Poges and the democratic process and their persistent misleading and inflammatory statements to the press make them unsuitable and unwelcome neighbours.
Our immediate next steps are:
- Dominic Grieve QC MP will communicate his recent conversations with Michael Gove and Lord Nash at a public meeting to be held at St Andrew’s Church Hall on Friday 19 July at 7.30 pm
- we will organise a further round of letter-writing stating our concerns and what we want to happen at Pioneer House once the Khalsa School’s 12 month temporary residence ends in July 2014
- to plan further actions, involving all residents, which demonstrate the village’s total opposition to Pioneer House being used as a school
To quote Winston Churchill: ‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning’.
The battle continues. We regroup, carry on and work harder to keep our village a village.
The Parish Council has been advised that the Secretary of State for Education had formally notified South Bucks District Council that it intends to use Class C of the recently introduced Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) Order to open a school at Pioneer House for 12 months from 5 September, subject to entering into a funding agreement with Slough Sikh Education Trust.
The Parish Council is in discussions with its legal advisers and will provide further information tomorrow (Thursday 11 July).
The South Bucks CSI issue 3 of 2013 has been published. You can view it online or download it here. (Opens in a new window).
Important messages about burglary, car break-ins, antisocial behaviour and dog fouling.
The following was sent to journalists today in response to requests for comment:
|Stoke Poges remains opposed to the use of Pioneer House for any secondary school
The position of the Parish Council and the residents of Stoke Poges has not changed. We are opposed to the use of the Pioneer House site as a secondary school of any denomination, whether that is a faith-school, another free school, or one managed by the Local Authority.
Our opposition is supported by the District Council’s Planning Officer’s report, which recommended the application be refused on several grounds, mainly the use of a Green Belt site, the loss of an employment site, serious traffic and pedestrian safety concerns, and the inappropriate location for a school that is designed to serve the needs of Slough, not of South Bucks.
Parish Council vice-chair Saera Carter states: “We are disappointed that SSET are trying to portray our objections as being prejudicial against the Sikh faith, because this is absolutely not the case – as evidenced by the number of Sikhs in Stoke Poges who are equally opposed to the use of this site as a secondary school. This is further evidence of the manipulation of the truth from SSET and their desire for a trophy site in the Green Belt of South Bucks. They should focus on meaningful dialogue with the DfE to issue a Schedule 1 CPO on the site in Slough which SSET originally identified as their preferred site.”
South Bucks District Council today issued the following warning about a scam.
WARNING OVER COUNCIL REBANDING TAX SCAM
Residents are being warned about private companies that are writing and cold calling residents saying that they have been over paying their Council Tax due to their property being in the wrong Council Tax Band.
The company will then say that the resident is entitled to a rebate and that they will challenge the Council on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. However many of these companies will ask for an upfront admin fee of around £175 when they visit the property to do an evaluation. If successful the company takes a cut of any resulting refund.
South Bucks District Council would like to point out that rebanding of a property can be done for free and by the resident without needing to go via a third party. Residents should be extremely cautious when dealing with these companies which are in no way connected or associated with the Council.
Councillor Duncan Smith, Portfolio holder for Resources said “Council Tax banding can be checked free of charge by contacting the Valuation Office Agency. We urge South Bucks residents who are approached by a third party to think very carefully before entering into an agreement with them. They are in no way associated with the Council and we would not make an approach like this or charge a fee for rebanding a property.”
The Valuation Office Agency website at www.voa.gov.uk provides very useful information on what to do if you disagree with the banding of your property. It also gives further details of Council Tax scams including a helpful list of do’s and don’ts.
We received an email from Robert Roach in Australia who is visiting in November. He sent this message:
My wife and I will be driving around the UK during November 2013.
My grandparents came to Australia in the mid 1920’s and they always talked about Stoke Poges. My grandmothers maiden name was Ince and her married name was Templeton. Is it possible to find any connection with these names.
If you can help please contact the Clerk, who will pass on contact details.