Satmar school fights planning rejection

By Jessica Elgot, April 19, 2012

Three hundred supporters of a strictly Orthodox Stamford Hill primary school turned up to back its appeal against Hackney Council's refusal of retrospective planning permission.

The Torah V'Yirah is believed to have been operating as a Satmar school since 2009 and currently has 300 pupils. The Gilmoor Benevolent Fund also wants to build a three-storey school on the existing site but neighbours in the surrounding block of flats strongly oppose the plan.

In its original decision, Hackney cited an "unacceptable increase in noise and disturbance" leading to a "loss of privacy". It also condemned the "poor detailed design… which would adversely affect the character and appearance of the street".

Torah V'Yirah representative Eli Low was "disappointed" that many of the school's supporters had been refused admittance to the appeal.

"They signed the attendance register and then had to leave because there was only space for 30 people. So we had to pick those who could stay."

He hoped the decision would be overturned. "We refute the allegations made by the residents and are working very hard to address concerns. We are always willing to meet and discuss things with them."

A Hackney Council spokesperson explained that "Tuesday's appeal, heard by way of public inquiry, was against two refused planning applications - retention of the existing unauthorised use and a proposed new school on the site including retention of the original building.

"Unauthorised development can have a negative impact on a neighbourhood.

"Therefore, it is vital that planning permission is requested in order to comply with planning policies and standards. The council will take action against those that disregard the set planning protocols."

A decision is expected within six weeks.

Last updated: 4:46pm, April 19 2012