Councillors urged to ‘back Route 39’ and drop plans to launch judicial review.

Dozens of Route 39 supporters staged a protest outside Bideford Town Hall this evening (Friday) as Torridge district councillors met to make a decision on a potential judicial review.

Torridge District Council convened an extraordinary full council meeting to make a decision on whether to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision to grant permission for a new school at Steart Farm, Bucks Cross.

Protesters were unhappy that the council is considering a legal challenge of the decision.

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.

“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 the public that the councillors’ debate would take place behind closed doors to ensure members could have ‘an honest and frank discussion’ about their opinions.

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.
The council’s final decision is set to be announced on Monday.