Dexter on collision course with SBC over controversial Sikh school on site earmarked for Slough Town FC

Colnbrook ward councillor Dexter Smith has put himself on collision course with Ruth Bagley, Chief Executive of Slough Borough Council, supporting Government proposals to build a Sikh school on the Arbour Vale site earmarked for Slough Town Football Club.

Cllr Smith put forward a motion to be discussed at next Tuesday’s council meeting, which was seconded by Conservative leader Cllr Anna Wright, to make the site available to Khalsa Secondary School.

The motion states:

“The interests of Slough taxpayers are put first by the Council not pursuing further its legal challenge to the Government’s direction to make the former Arbour Vale School site available for the Khalsa Secondary Academy which the Government had agreed to fund.”

It added that the council should obtain ‘best value’ through its sale of the former school site to enable further use for educational purposes when there is a long-term shortage of secondary school places in Slough.

Cllr Smith said:

“That site has been standing there since 2008 waiting for an offer to come from Slough Town football club and a housing development which has not materialised and there is now increasing pressure on school places.

“There is no obvious site for this school which is wanted in the area so it makes great sense for that site to be released.”

The Colnbrook councillor also said that it was unnecessary for the school to be housed in Stoke Poges as the majority of the schools pupils would be coming from Sikh primary schools in Slough.

He added:

“It seems to me that the council has used enough time looking for alternative sites and they are challenging a lawful direction by the Department for Education.
“Slough Borough Council could sell the site to the school, which would give the school greater security, and create a win-win situation.”

Council chief executive Ruth Bagley replied to a letter from Mary Pooley, of the Free Schools Group, in March stating that the council would not agree to use the Arbour Vale site for any free school.

They have yet to hear a response.

The Slough Sikh Education Trust (SSET) wants to open a Khalsa Secondary Academy free school at Pioneer House in Hollybush Hill in Stoke Poges.
The controversial proposal has received a number of objections.

A petition urging the Government to stop interfering in plans to bring football home to Slough now has 875 signatures.
Visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/47176 to view the petition.

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