Stop bleating about noise says housing association director over Stoke Newington’s Avigdor development

The chief executive of a housing association has said city dwellers averse to noise should “move to Wales and live with sheep”, after an application to build a school and flats was refused because of noise concerns.

The Agudas Israel Housing Association wants to build 14 three and four-bed flats for strictly Orthodox families on the site of the old Avigdor School in Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Stoke Newington, which closed down in 2004 through lack of demand.

Because the site has been earmarked by Hackney Council for school use, the housing association has promised to give the land worth �1.5 million to special needs school Side By Side.

The school has been squatting in portacabins in an Upper Clapton playground for seven years, and the council has unsuccessfully served several eviction notices on them.

The idea is to build the flats on top of a proposed school for 110 pupils, which will be located on the ground and lower ground floor of the site.

However planners at Hackney Council branded the part three, part four-storey building an “intrusive and discordant” development and refused it permission.

“By reason of its design, poor internal layout and insufficient lighting would provide a poor quality learning environment for future pupils,” they said, adding the design and size of the building was overbearing.

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Arbor Court residents, who live opposite the site, have already complained about the noise coming from the 29 flats built last year in Agudas Israel’s adjacent development Avigdor Mews.

“If the proposed development is built, it will mean more than 300 people living on a piece of land barely bigger than a football pitch,” said Arbor Court resident Paul Milican.

“This is unfair to those living on neighbouring roads and unfair to the residents of Avigdor Mews who will be crammed in like sardines with very little play space.”

Chief Executive Ita Symons is taking the decision to appeal with the Secretary of State and expects a positive outcome by January.

“We did plans and plans and plans and plans, taking into account the needs of the school, it was thoughtfully designed, we were shocked actually when the planning officer said, “Oh no, I’m not going to grant permission for this,” she said.

“Neighbours have made a huge hullaballoo about the proposed development, I’m afraid anyone living anywhere increases the noise there because that is life.

“Living in an inner city you can’t expect to live on your own, if people want to live in solitude without many neighbours they should go and live in Wales with some sheep.”