A VERDICT has been delivered in a landmark battle against an academy school.

Judge David Elvin QC, today upheld the Secretary of State for communities and local government’s decision to allow Khalsa Sceondary Academy, in Hollybush Hill, Stoke Poges, to continue as a school in its current location at Pioneer House.

Both South Bucks District Council and Stoke Poges Parish Council have fought against the school for three–and-a-half-years on the grounds of noise and traffic issues.

The case was due to be heard in the High Court more than a year ago, for redetermination of an earlier quashed decision, but was thrown out at the last minute.

Saera Carter, vice-chair of Stoke Poges Parish Council, described the news as disappointing following such a difficult journey.

She said: "This is a huge disappointment for small communities everywhere. Small communities who have been bullied and ignored by central Government.

“Stoke Poges refused to be bullied by the target-driven and box-ticking culture of the Department for Education following the opening of a free school in our village where it was neither needed nor wanted and, in the words of the independent Planning Inspector, it would make houses adjacent to the school ‘uninhabitable’.

“In addition to the noise and traffic imposition, the opening of this Free School has had a significant financial impact on parents, not just in Stoke Poges, but in the surrounding villages of Burnham, Iver, Wexham, Fulmer and Farnham - parents who have lost their previous right to free Home to School transport and will now forced to pay thousands of pounds per year to send their children to a school of their choosing. It is a sad day.

“As a landmark case which has highlighted that the Government’s Free School policy is fundamentally flawed, we hope that, despite losing our challenge today, it will persuade the DFE to look much more carefully at where it sites Free Schools and that these are kept only to locations where they are both needed and wanted.”

Khalsa Secondary Academy Nick Kandola, chair of governors for the school, said he was delighted with the news.

He said: “This provides the much needed certainty for the pupils, parents, staff and pupils for supporting the school to this successful conclusion.

“We now look forward to commencing the full refurbishment of the existing site to allow us to provide world class educational facilities for our pupils and staff.”