Torridge District Council will not progress judicial review against Route 39 decision
- Credit: Archant
Councillors voted by a majority of four to not challenge the Secretary of State’s decision for a new free school at Bucks Cross.
Torridge District Council will not be progressing a judicial review against Route 39 Academy.
At an extraordinary meeting on Friday, members debated behind closed doors whether to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision to grant permission for a new school at Steart Farm, Bucks Cross.
Members decided not to pursue a challenge to the Secretary of State’s decision to allow the development, by a vote of 15 against challenge, to 11 for a challenge.
During the public part of the meeting, Torridge District Council chairman Mervyn Langmead told the public that the councillors’ debate would take place in the closed part two session, to ensure members could have ‘an honest and frank discussion’ about their opinions.
He addressed the packed Bideford Town Hall above the shouts of protestors showing their support for the school outside the council chamber.
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Anna Ward, a governor for Route 39 Academy, was one of the three members of the public to oppose a judicial review.
She said: “We wanted to show for once that it isn’t a minority voice and it isn’t a majority against us.
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“We often get told that the Secretary of State has gone against the democratic process, but I think it’s quite questionable the democratic process that has been happening here today.
“We’re not a school starting out; were an existing, flourishing school that now just needs a chance to get off the ground, and we’ve never had that chance.
“Temporary premises with an axe over our head and the uncertainty of planning has created a huge number of problems for us.”
The chamber also heard from three members of the public, who voiced their support of the process.
Torridge District Council chairman Mervyn Langmead told those attending the councillors’ debate would take place behind closed doors to ensure members could have ‘an honest and frank discussion’ about their opinions, before closing the public session.
Their had been controversy prior to the meeting when Torridge District Council initiated legal proceedings prior to the discussion to ensure the appeal deadline was met.