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Legal challenge over new Blackburn school
NEIGHBOURS of the former YMCA building in Clarence Street, Blackburn, are mounting a legal challenge to the borough council’s green light to demolish it for the new Tauheedul Islam Boys School.
Residents have instructed Sheffield solicitors Irwin Mitchell to prepare a judicial review in the High Court to overturn planning approval.
They claim there is inadequate outdoor space for pupils and a lack of parking which will cause major traffic problems when the 700-pupil school opens next September.
Last month Blackburn with Darwen Council gave permission for the country’s first free school for Muslims, despite objections from neighbours, led by Rahima Debar, who feared parking and traffic chaos. Tauheedul chief executive Mufti Hamid Patel said pupils would be encouraged to walk to school with a £150 bursary for sport and fitness equipment.
This pledge and the provision of an extra 16 parking spaces in place of a proposed games area failed to satisfy objectors including the 280-year-old nearby Blackburn Subscription Bowling Club.
Officers told councillors the plans were ‘acceptable’ and included sharing sports facilities with the local community.
Instructed by Ibrahim Shafi, of St Johns House in Clarence Street, Irwin Mitchell has written to the council giving notice of the legal challenge on the basis this advice was legally incorrect. It must respond by tomorrow.
Mr Shafi said: “I have done this on behalf of all local residents. It is the wrong school in the wrong place.”
Bowling club treasurer Carol Donnelly said: “This is nothing to do with the Tauheedul Trust. It is just in the wrong place and could prevent people coming to use our club and force it to close.”
Ansar Ali, of Clarence Street, said: “They haven’t listened to us. You can’t accommodate a school for 700 pupils there. It will cause chaos.”
Borough legal chief David Fairclough said: “We have received a letter and we are considering its contents.”