140 object to extended hours for Leeds Muslim girls’ school

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PLANS to extend the opening hours of a Muslim girls’ school in Leeds have attracted a raft of objections from locals.

Bosses at the New Horizon Community School in Potternewton want to be able to open the building for 12 hours straight from 8am until 8pm on weekdays, and from 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

The school already has permission to open the building until 8pm on weekdays, but with a break in the day.

It also has permission to open until midday on Saturdays and Sundays, but under the new proposal it would not open on Sundays at all,

An extension to allow for a pre-school and nursery has also been requested, but some objectors have expressed concerns that this should “not run as a faith nursery”.

Locals earlier submitted a 140-name petition objecting on the grounds of traffic congestion and noise from the building.

Among the key complaints, stretching back over several years, is that there was noise from assemblies being held outside. A plans panel at Leeds Civic Hall is set to debate the proposals today with a recommendation to approve.

A report to be presented to the panel acknowledges the school sits in a “predominantly residential” area.

There has been a history of complaints about the site, it adds, and a number of minor breaches of previous planning conditions.

However these were resolved with no enforcement action after council officers “worked pro-actively” with the the applicant.

Negotiations about the current application stretch back to 2012, when a bid to open the school building from 8am to 9pm on weekdays, and from 9am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays, was rejected. A request to expand maximum student numbers from the current 120 was also thrown out by planning chiefs.

The report to the plans panel says locals object to “a further increase in noise and traffic congestion which will be caused by New Horizon’s proposed changed status and opening hours”.

Objectors say the road and junction are already hugely congested, and any changes will “disturb their peace and quiet”.

They have also raised concerns about the building opening beyond the hours approved and about “what goes on beyond the school day after 3.30pm”.

Officers are recommending the North and East East Plans Panel approves the changed conditions today.

The report says the variation of hours is “acceptable” and “an improvement” on the previous application. It stresses that “the premises would not be used at all on a Sunday which is reassuring” and would mean “a day of no-activity” for people living nearby.

Date: 11th November 2017. 'Picture James Hardisty. The 'Leeds Grand Quarte in New briggate. Pictured The Howard Assembly Room at Opera North.

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