Sikh Temple in Southall, West London
Sikh Temple in Southall, West London

A race row has erupted after racist graffiti was found scrawled on hoardings around the site of a proposed Sikh school in one of Britain's' wealthiest villages.

Plans have been published in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, to build Khalsa Secondary School which would eventually cater for 840 pupils from South Buckinghamshire, Slough and west London.

Locals have rejected the plans. They say the area is not right for a secondary school, that it would affect the green belt and that it would cause traffic problems with a large number of extra people coming in and out of the village every day.

Tensions have been growing in the Tory-strong village, which has one of the highest concentrations of £1m homes in Britain. Many residents warned that they would switch their vote to Ukip if the school were built.

A noticeboard on the proposed site has been graffitied with the slogans "No Paki school" and "Don't sell to Paki school".

Campaigners were quick to condemn the graffiti and said that their objections had nothing to do with race.

Buckingham Advertiser reported that several villagers had tried to remove the graffiti. Villagers were concerned that the Slough Sikh Education Trust (SSET), which is behind the proposed faith school, might argue that opposition to it was based purely on race.

Saera Carter, vice-chairman of Stoke Poges Parish Council, said: "As soon as we knew [about the graffiti] a group of villagers were there within minutes and had cleared it away in an hour.

"We didn't want people to be offended. That's anyone in the village, whether the SSET, villagers, passersby or people working there.

"Sikhism is a peaceful religion but this is immature and inflammatory behaviour and it wouldn't surprise me if the SSET is turning this into a race issue."

Nick Kandola, chairman of the SSET, said: "The incident of graffiti at the proposed school site is unfortunate.

"We would much rather things like this weren't happening and, as a trust, we would prefer to focus on the more important questions of how we can best deliver a new school in this location and serving this community.

"We do not want to draw unnecessary attention to this incident.

"We want to address the more fundamental questions about improving local educational choice and bringing forward an excellent planning proposition."