School dismayed by planning rejection

A planning application to move a successful strictly Orthodox Manchester private school from its dilapidated building to a state-of-the-art complex has been refused.

Pupils at the Etz Chaim Boys' Grammar have consistently attained the best overall GCSE grades in the region. However an Ofsted report last year described its building as "in a poor state of repair and in need of a very substantial programme of refurbishment".

Governors applied in July to convert a Jewish-owned office block in Prestwich into a three-storey school to accommodate its 94 students.

But Bury Council has rejected the scheme on the ground of "unacceptable loss of existing employment land", deeming it harmful to the local economy.

The council also cited road safety problems and three objections from local residents.

Bury's decision is a second setback, a previous application to demolish and rebuild the school on its existing site having been turned down by Manchester City Council because the building is of historical interest.

The school's governors will be appealing against the decision, with a spokesman pointing out: "We've tried to make the best of the current building, despite the fact it's falling apart at the seams."

    Last updated: 11:17am, October 10 2008