Councillor submits papers in case against Richmond Council to High Court

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Irked: Councillor Virginia Morris Irked: Councillor Virginia Morris

A councillor who was sacked from Richmond’s cabinet after threatening the council with legal action could soon battle her case in the High Court.

Councillor Virginia Morris has submitted court papers for her case against the council, which she claims misconstrued evidence against her five-year-old daughter’s school place application.

In January, the mother-of-two applied for her daughter to attend Sheen Mount Primary School, 50m from the front door of the family’s home in East Sheen, to start in September.

The council refused the application because it used the family’s previous address seven miles away in Hampton, where Coun Morris’s husband, Clive Hills, still pays council tax.

The couple took the issue to the appeal panel, which vote against them, so decided to take it to the High Court, where a judge will review the council and appeal panel’s process.

Coun Morris said: “We did everything possible to give as much evidence to Richmond council.

“They rejected everything out of hand. We are not just doing this to help our daughter but also to make sure that they do not do this to another child.”

The East Sheen councillor, elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010, was sacked in September from her role as cabinet member for the environment, planning, parks and highways.

She said the outcome of her case would be important because it would define how local authorities processed addresses for education purposes in the future.

Mr Hills said: “The way Richmond Council operates is bad for business. Why would people come here if they cannot get a school place for their child?

“If you are renting in Richmond to work in London but still own a house in Brighton would the council expect you to travel to Brighton from Richmond to drop your child off at school?"

The case comes as hundreds of parents across the borough are applying for places for their children to start school in September 2014.

A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that Coun Morris has commenced legal action against the council regarding the decision of the primary school admissions appeals panel.

“This is a personal issue and not regarding her position as councillor. However, as the situation is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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