Satmar boys' primary wins fight against closure

By Jessica Elgot, May 31, 2012

A strictly Orthodox Stamford Hill school has won its battle against closure after Hackney Council ruled that it was operating illegally.

The Satmar boys’ primary, Torah V’Yirah, has been open since 2009 and has nearly 300 pupils. Last November, the council served an enforcement notice against the continued use of the Amhurst Park premises as a school. Around 300 community members turned up in support when its appeal was heard last month.

Torah V’Yirah applied for retrospective planning permission for a three-storey school on the site. Neighbours have strongly opposed the scheme and the original Hackney planning decision cited an “unacceptable increase in noise and disturbance” and a “poor detailed design”.

However, the government’s Planning Inspectorate — which has the final say in planning matters — has given consent for the building work. Restrictions have been placed on Sunday opening times and outdoor play.

Inspector, Janice Trask, reported that when visiting the school, noise from boys playing was “muted and not unduly disruptive”. She noted that “neighbours have advised that boys have climbed trees and fences and have behaved in an unacceptable manner towards neighbours when in their gardens, at their windows or on the ground floor balconies of flats”. The school had since erected fences to stop the alleged nuisance.

She added: “There is clearly a demand for schools in the area and the large number of attendees at the hearing demonstrates support for this school in particular.”

The Gilmoor Benevolent Fund, which applied for the permission on behalf of the school, has denied the school causes problems for neighbours but said it was willing to discuss any issues with them.

Last updated: 4:25pm, May 31 2012