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Masthead Local Govt -  Education

Campaigners in legal action over planning permission for secondary free school

A group opposed to a planned secondary free school in Harpenden has said it will take Hertfordshire County Council to judicial review over its decision to grant planning consent.

Right School, Right Place (RSRP) said its representations were inadequately considered over the proposed Katherine Warington School, and the Secretary of State’s refusal to call the application in had left it no option but to take the matter to court.

It said it had: “Found evidence that many points were not considered, and in parallel asked further questions of HCC to attempt to clarify the position.”

RSRP said it objected on the grounds that the school would be built on Green Belt land outside the local plan and would generate excessive traffic.

Harpenden Parents Group, which supports construction of the school, said RSRP’s legal move “represents an attempt by opponents of the school to block the build going ahead, despite its unanimous approval by Herts County Council's planning committee and approval by the Secretary of State.

“In the light of the recent secondary school allocation nightmare for many Harpenden families, we will monitor this situation.”

A Hertfordshire statement said: “Katherine Warington School will be purpose-built, using the latest technology to enhance the experience of students in an inspirational and nurturing learning environment, delivering an enriching teaching experience and enabling all students to thrive.”

The school would be run by a partnership of Roundwood Park, St Georges and Sir John Lawes schools, the University of Hertfordshire and Rothamsted, a local agricultural research centre.

Mark Smulian

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