Three councils are to launch legal challenges to the government’s cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future scheme

Labour-led councils in Nottingham, Luton, and Waltham Forest are launching legal challenges to Michael Gove’s decision to scrap the £55bn Building Schools for the Future programme.

They are seeking a judicial review into Gove’s decision to scrap the 700-school programme.

Nottingham City council said that it had a legitimate expectation that funding for Top Valley and Trinity Schools would be provided given that an outline business case for the works was approved in February.

It is launching the challenge alongside Luton council, which also had BSF schemes stopped, in order to save on legal fees.

Councillor David Mellen, Nottingham’s portfolio holder for children’s services, said: “The council has explored a number of options in order to secure funding to carry out the planned remodelling of Top Valley and Trinity schools which have been stopped.

He said: “We have sought counsel’s advice on whether to take legal action to resolve this dispute and our decision to push ahead with legal proceedings has not been taken lightly. We would have much preferred a negotiated solution however I have not received a response to my request to meet with Mr Gove.”

Waltham Forest council in north-east London decided to launch a legal challenge against the government on 16 July in an attempt to claw back almost £300m that was set to be invested in new school buildings.

Gove cancelled over 700 BSF schemes on 5 July, and said the project was wasteful and inefficient.