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County council hits out at latest judicial review challenge to permission for new secondary school

Gloucestershire County Council has denounced as “a disgrace” a further attempt by a parish councillor to judicially review permission for a new secondary school in Cheltenham.

Margaret White, a member of Leckhampton with Warden Hill Parish Council, objects to construction of the High School Leckhampton on grounds of its impact on the local landscape.

She was unsuccessful in applying for judicial review in October, when HHJ Jarman said her objections were details for the planning authority to resolve. He ordered her to pay £4,200 in costs.

Cllr White has since applied to appeal this decision and a hearing is due on 15 December.

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Construction work on the school began in September and is due for completion in April 2022.

Patrick Molyneux, Gloucestershire’s cabinet member for schools, said of Cllr White’s appeal application: “This is a disgrace. These proceedings show no concern at all for the young people of Cheltenham or their families.

"I can assure people in Leckhampton the county council will robustly defend our £30m carbon-neutral school. We have every confidence this will be thrown out.”

The litigation has led to a sharp divide on the parish council. It passed a motion only on the chair’s casting vote calling on Cllr White to withdraw her original judicial review application and for the parish to form a task force with the county council “to mitigate the impact of the development”.

A parish council statement said it had no involvement in the decision by Cllr White to take action.

Cllr White did not respond to a request for comment.

Mark Smulian

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