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Academies and FOI

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A local school academy made a statement in a letter to parents that I do not believe was true. I have asked the school repeatedly to substantiate their claim but they have ignored every request.

 

They claimed in the letter that something they were asking the local council to approve in a planning application was no different to what was already happening in other local places. I disputed this and asked where these other local places were, which is what they are refusing to say.

 

If they were still under LEA control I suppose I could approach the authority to intervene but as they are an Academy they are a law unto themselves.

 

Is there anyway you can suggest that will force them to substantiate their claim?

 

Thank you.

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The obvious route is with the council planning department. You can send the council an FOI, asking about the specific issue that has been happening in other local places, as well as in the planning application by the academy.

 

With an FOI you have to be specific or it will get rejected. It still might, as the council might say they don't keep records on the specific issue and for cost reasons won't go back to check on different planning applications. They will point you to general policy guidelines and the online planning application records.

 

Can you explain why the issue at the academy directly affects you, that would warrant the academy or council or department of education incuring costs in dealing with your enquiries ?


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Sorry, I may not have made myself clear.

 

It is the school (Academy) that I am trying to get the information from, not the Council who incidentally freely admit that even if they know something in a planning application is not true they still treat it as true.

 

In this case it was a letter from the school that was sent to parents asking for their support for a planning application and in that letter they stated that what they were asking for in the planning application was already happening in other local places.

 

The issue affects me because the planning application, which was granted, was for amplified music to be played in the school sports hall that is just 30 metres from my house. The school had previously promised neighbouring residents when they built the sports hall that they would not be applying for music at anytime in the future.

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I don't think you can insist on the academy providing the information through any process.

 

In your situation, i think the approach is to submit an objection to the schools application and get your neighbours to do the same if they feel the same way.


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You can't force the school to substantiate their claims.

 

If the information is incorrect, they wouldn't be able to substantiate it anyway. And a 'letter to parents' is not a legally significant document.

 

If you believe that the information contained in a formal planning application is not correct, or that the planning application would have an adverse effect on you, the appropriate way of dealing with that would be to object to the planning application. Presumably it is possible for you to object?


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Thanks for all your replies, your answers were as I feared.

 

The Academy wrote a letter to parents asking for them to send letters of support to the Council for a planning application they had submitted. In that letter they made a certain claim which I am fairly certain was a lie. The planning application was approved by the Council even though they knew this.

 

Naturally I wrote and objected to the application but to no avail. I asked one of the Councils solicitors what happens if the Council know that a planning application contains untrue statements and he stated that the Council assumed that every statement was true and did not challenge them.

 

I should mention that the Academy and a certain member of their staff repeatedly make untrue statements in their planning applications but the Council just ignore them.

 

Anyway, thanks again for your replies.

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