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Government appeal Stoke Poges Free School decision
THE Department for Education has lodged an appeal against the decision to reject planning permission for a controversial Free Faith School in Stoke Poges.
A second planning application has also been launched to convert former offices in the village into a secondary school after initial plans were knocked back in January this year.
The academy has been subject to a lengthy campaign from residents who say that the village does not need or want another school.
A DfE spokesman said: "There is a severe need for secondary school places in the area. We have submitted an appeal to the local planning authority against the refusal to use Pioneer House as a permanent site for Khalsa Free School."
Pioneer House, in Hollybush Hill, Stoke Poges, is the site subject to plans and has been the home to Khalsa Secondary Academy since September.
The plans were turned down almost three months ago after fears were raised over traffic issues and noise problems for neighbouring residents, should the Sikh school move in for good.
The Free School opened its doors in September after the DfE used new permitted development rights to allow the 12-month use of the building for education purposes.
It was hoped that the planning rejection earlier in the year marked the end of a long campaign from Stoke Poges residents, with protestors insisting South Bucks does not need or want another secondary school.
Stoke Poges Parish Council’s Vice Chairman, Saera Carter, a campaigner against the development believes the problems from January remain.
She said: "I don’t know how you could mitigate issues which still remain; it is still green-belt, still not sustainable, there are still traffic issues and there will still be noise.
"This is open for people of the Sikh community, and therefore the majority of people who use it will be from outside Stoke Poges, this is not a benefit to our village."
She added: "We have been trying to work with the department from the very beginning; they know how the village feels and what our opinions are.
"As they own the land I would imagine the Department for Education will want to get everything sorted as quickly as possible.
"Even if the situation is not right they could keep appealing this for months."
Any comments on the plans have to be submitted to www.southbucks.gov.uk by April 9.
A decision on the Stoke Poges Free School is expected by May 11.
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