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Free school appeals against rejected bid
11:00am Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
Lois Jones and King Ehibhatiomhan pose in the new uniforms for the proposed Tyndale Community School
THE group behind Oxford’s first free school has vowed that children will be able to attend classes from September – but not necessarily at the school’s building in Cowley.
It was hoped the Tyndale Community School would open this autumn on the site of the former Lord Nuffield Club, but planning permission was turned down by Oxford City Council earlier this month.
The school had already been given approval by the Department for Education.
Chapel Street Community Schools Trust and Oxfordshire Community Churches, which are behind the school, yesterday announced they will be appealing the decision which now means a government-appointed planning inspector will have the final say.
The announcement came on the same day the school launched its new uniform.
Steve Jones, the prospective chairman of governors for the school, said: “The advice we have had from our planning consultants is that we should expect to win an appeal.
“We have a commitment from the Department for Education that we open this autumn but we will need to open in temporary accommodation because it will not be possible to complete the building work on time.
“The Department for Education is bearing the cost of that temporary accommodation but the Educational Funding Agency will be seeking costs from the city council.
“We are looking at several options for the temporary accommodation of which one is obviously on the Lord Nuffield Club site.”
Melinda Tilley, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for education, supported the school’s bid to overturn the refusal. She said: “I was surprised that the city council refused the planning application. I support their appeal. We are going to need all the primary school places we can get.”
Free schools were introduced by the Coalition Government, a move opposed by Labour, which leads the city council.
When this was put to Mr Jones he said: “I cannot understand the planning committee’s decision on the basis of the evidence which was presented to them.”
The committee turned down the proposals on the basis that the grounds were too small and the school would generate too much traffic. Mr Jones refutes both reasons.