THE leader of Brent Council says it was right not to take the Government to court over its scrapped Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects.

Education secretary Michael Gove's decision to axe BSF projects in six other local authorities was ruled unlawful in the High Court last week, because he failed to consult on it.

But Labour council leader Councillor Ann John said Brent made the right decision not to go to court, despite four local projects worth £80 million being scrapped last July.

The schools may now miss out, because the Judge Mr Justice Holman ruled it was too late for other local authorities to take retrospective action against the cuts.

Cllr John said: “We took the best advice at the time and we found that the councils that took legal action were much further down the line in terms of development and we were in a different position.

“But the decision is very interesting and we will look at it very carefully. It shows that the Government shouldn't have taken such hasty action against schools and parents.”

The successful councils were Waltham Forest, Luton Borough Council, Nottingham City Council, Sandwell, Kent County Council and Newham. They all had schools that had received outline planning permission for their projects.

The Government must now reconsider their cases and carry out a full consultation, although the final decision will still rest with the education secretary.

In Brent, plans for Copland Community School and Alperton Community School, both scrapped by the Government, had not yet reached 'financial close' – the point at which a contract is signed between the local authority and developers.

Brent North MP Barry Gardiner said the decision to cut funding to these schools was “so unjust as they have the strongest need for new buildings.”

He added: “I think it would have been sensible for the council to make a legal challenge, but now it would be absolutely unthinkable for the Government not to reconsider these cuts.

“The judge's decision has shown that the process was flawed. It would be morally and politically embarrassing if the Government did not review the entire process.”

In his judgment, Mr Justice Holman said because the Government's decision was taken over seven months ago, it would be too late for other authorities like Brent to apply for a judicial review.

He added: “I do not mean to trivialise so important an issue, but it may be said that fortune has favoured the brave.”

In a statement Mr Gove said: “The judge has made clear that any other local authority, outside of the claimant group, would be far too late to apply for a separate judicial review on this matter.

“The Judge has not ordered a reinstatement of funding for any Building Schools for the Future project. Nor has he ordered me to pay compensation to any of the claimants.”