Green light for Muslim free school to move into former Hackney police station

Some of the pupils from The Olive School who took the Year 1 phonics assessment in the summer of 201

Some of the pupils from The Olive School who took the Year 1 phonics assessment in the summer of 2017 and received a letter of congratulations from schools minister Nick Gibb. - Credit: Archant

Plans for a Muslim free school to move into a former police station have been given the green light following a successful appeal.

The Olive School, which has been in temporary accommodation in Stoke Newington since opening in 2013, is set to call Hackney Central police station in Lower Clapton Road home – putting an end to a planning wrangle that has lasted more than three years.

Hackney Council initially turned down the proposal in the summer of 2016 amidst widespread concerns about traffic measures at the school, which will eventually cater for 630 students.

The Tauheedul Education Trust, which runs the school, responded by applying a condition to the blueprint which will see a staggered move into the Grade-II listed building, with 90 reception children starting in 2019 and a year group being added annually until Olive reaches full capacity in 2025.

In reviewing the appeal, which unfurled in July, the secretary of state for planning revealed he was “satisfied” with congestion measures which will see traffic marshals introduced and staggered departure times. There is no on-site parking for cars included in the application, except for a bus layby upon land adjacent to St John’s churchyard and cycling provision.

It has been a double celebration at the school this month, after students were named in the top three per cent in the country for reading and writing – prompting a letter from schools minister Nick Gibb.

Principal Caterina Park told the Gazette: “The school is delighted with the outcome of the appeal. We have been operating in a temporary solution for a number of years and all our staff and pupils are very excited by the prospect of finally moving into our new school.

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“We look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure that we build a school that is at the heart of the community.”

The proposal will see buildings demolished at the back of the police station and the addition of a three-storey teaching block.

The former police station was closed in July 2013 after former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced it would be sold as part of cost-cutting measures to save millions across the Metropolitan Police. The property was bought by the Department for Education for £7.6million less than a year later.

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