Court rules in council's favour over primary school closure in Northamptonshire

Parents of a primary school set to shut on December 31 have failed in their bid to keep the school open until a judicial review was held - after a court sided with Northamptonshire County Council.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018, 7:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:19 am
Parents and pupils at Great Creaton have been fighting the council's decision to close the school

The authority's cabinet had made the decision to shut the doors of Great Creaton Primary School back in September, but parents have been fighting against the closure ever since.

Parent Kirsty Lowe, 41, had instructed public law specialists at Irwin Mitchell to fight the closure on behalf of her four-year-old daughter, Maya, who is a current reception pupil at Great Creaton.

But an interim relief application to try and prevent the closure at the end of December fell at the first hurdle on December 12 in Birmingham, with Irwin Mitchell unable to replicate the success it had with its last judicial review against the county council over proposed library closures.

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Caroline Barrett, an associate solicitor at Irwin Mitchell and the public law specialist representing Kirsty and Maya, said: “Great Creaton Primary School is an important part of our client’s life, as well as being an integral part of the local community.“But the court decided on this occasion that the detriment that would be caused to the council in keeping the school open for any longer was greater than the detriment that would be caused to our client.“The court has therefore determined it’s not going to grant the interim relief we sought, and has not granted permission for the case to proceed further.“This is of course very disappointing for our clients, and we will be working with them to consider their options further.”

The county council decided to close the school due to dwindling numbers, but parents felt the decision was unlawful for numerous reasons, including a failure to lawfully consult with residents and pupils and to consider the impact of the closure on the local community.

The parents felt numbers could have increased with 'fresh management' and the support of a local Multi Academy Trust.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We welcome the decision of the court in this matter.”