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Stoke Poges Sikh school campaigners ordered to remove protest banners
CAMPAIGNERS against a Sikh school in a South Bucks village have been forced to take down their protest banners near the new academy.
Solicitors wrote to parish councillors in Stoke Poges last month asking the Khalsa Academy protestors to remove the “intimidating” roadside signs near the school.
The banners were erected earlier this year for the ‘Keep Our Village a Village’ campaign, launched to prevent a new Sikh school moving into a former office building in Hollybush Hill.
The letter, from HJ Templeman Solicitors, states: “Parents are concerned about the adverse effect of the signs on their children, some children have expressed fear at attending the school due to the intimidating signs.”
Following the complaints, Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) has now ordered the “illegal” signs be removed, otherwise the council will take them down.
And TfB officials have also told staff at the Khalsa Academy, operated by the Slough Sikh Education Trust, to remove its own unauthorised school banners from the roadside.
The school was given temporary permission to open for 12 months after the Department for Education approved the move using new permitted development rights legislation.
Last week, a party of Khalsa students and staff presented a 14,000-strong petition to Downing Street asking for the former Pioneer UK site to become the school’s permanent home.
Campaigners claim there is no demand for a school in Stoke Poges, saying it should be located in Slough where there is more need for school places.
Protestors led their own trip to Number 10 in July, handing over a petition of over 5000 signatures, and have vowed to fight any plans to keep the school in the village permanently.
A parish council spokesman said: "Stoke Poges Parish Council is continuing to lobby the Department for Education to ensure that the concerns of the village are taken into account and it reserves the right to pursue all legal options available, including a judicial review, should the Education Funding Agency apply for a change of use.
"Such a change of use would require a full planning application to be made with South Bucks District Council, which recommended that the previous application be refused."
The DfE has stated no decision has yet been made over the long-term future of the free school.
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