||Islamophobia Watch has covered a report from the Newham Recorder on the conclusion of a dispute over the possible closure of an Islamic school in East London. The paper reports that the enforcement notice issued by Newham Council against Alif Academy over safety concerns has been quashed, and that the school has been granted planning permission to help the development of the school.
From the local paper:
“Alif Academy, an independent Islamic school in Forest Gate, has been granted planning permission after attempts by Newham Council to close them down.
“A public inquiry was set up by The Planning Inspectorate in February to inspect the council’s enforcement notice on the grounds that the primary school and nursery was not safe or fit to operate as a school.
“The enforcement notice was quashed and planning permission granted at Newham Town Hall in East Ham on May 23.
“Headteacher Hasib Hikmat estimates it has cost the school £52,000 in legal fees to overturn the decision.
“He said: “In a time of austerity, the council think it’s fine to be spending public money, probably tens of thousands of pounds, on legally fighting something that made little sense from the beginning trying to shut down a school that provides extra capacity and jobs for local people which runs with no financial assistance from the council.”
“Mr Hikmat said the parents and staff were “chuffed” at the Planning Inpectorate’s decision.
“He added: “Newham is in dire need of better schools and it’s opened the door to more investment in the development of industrial sites in Newham and, hopefully, more schools.”
“A Newham Council spokesman said: “Any school in Newham should be safe and well run. We are therefore pleased that the Planning Inspectorate found that our enforcement action was necessary in order to ensure a higher standard of development and in modifying the use with respect to impact on the local community.”
“Now Alif Academy has planning permission, they hope to win a Nursery Education Grant to help with their development.”
Islamophobia Watch points out that Newham Council has made attempts in the past to close down local Muslim institutions, stating that “Last year the council's enforcement notice on the Tablighi Jamaat mosque in West Ham was also overturned by the Planning Inspectorate.”