London, UK: A Sikh free school could be built on a site earmarked for Slough Town Football Club’s new stadium.
The Department for Education is considering the site of the old Arbour Vale School as one option for the new Khalsa Secondary Academy.
Slough Borough Council said the proposal jeopardises its plans to regenerate the site, including building a new stadium for the non-league club.
The government said “nothing has been decided” and welcomed all suggestions.
Slough Sikh Education Trust had planned to build the new school in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, but the proposal was met with opposition.
Slough Borough Council said the new plan was a “panicked reaction” to that.
John Rice, assistant director of regeneration and estates, described the government’s proposal for the site as “ill-considered” and a “dramatic waste of public funds”.
In September, the authority announced a £1bn deal to build a new library, schools, leisure facilities and homes in Slough, and decided to include the Arbour Park development in the scheme.
Plans include transforming the site into a new stadium for Slough Town, which is currently based near Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, and creating 89 new homes.
In a statement, the Department for Education said there was a “severe need” for secondary school places in Slough and the Arbour Vale site was “just one option” it was considering.
According to the 2011 Census, Slough is home to almost 15,000 Sikhs, more than any other local authority in England and Wales.
The new school intends to cater for students from all backgrounds, with 50% of places prioritised for non-Sikh students.
Source: BBC News