This is the statement made by Labour Councillor Ned Mulready at Hackney Council's planning sub committee on Tuesday 10 January.
He is talking about a private school for ultra orthodox Jewish pupils at 91 Amhurst Park which is one of many schools set up around Stamford Hill without planning permission.
"The judgement of whether or not to grant planning permission for a school comes down to the need for the school versus the harm it causes to the amenity of residents.
I’ll first address the need for the school. There is absolutely no need for this school to be on this specific site. The school has been built because a group of parents in the local area have decided to opt out of state education for their kids.
Now that is their right but it is a choice. They might see it as an obligation but, in law, it isn’t. It’s a choice. And we must see it as such.
The fact that there is a large group of people in an area with a preference for religious schooling over state education, in my book, doesn’t mean there is a need for a religious school, just that there is a desire.
Now, I can see how it could be argued that if there is a desire for a certain specific type of education from a large part of the local community - a type of education they have a right to choose for themselves - then you could say there is a need for a school which would provide that sort of education.
I wouldn’t agree with that definition of need.
But I can see how you could get to it.
So if we take that as given. Assume that there is a need for a school of this type (I refute that but lets just go with it).
We then come down to the judgement of where the school needs to be. Or rather, where there is a need for the school to be.
There is absolutely no reason why this school has to be built on that site or even in the Stamford Hill area.
You don’t have a right to a school on the same couple of streets that you live on. There is absolutely nothing in any law or regulation that says you do. You have decided that none of the local state schools are for you and that you are going to build your own. Fine. That’s your right.
But the onus is surely on you to find appropriate land to build on. And if you can’t find that land in the small area of Stamford Hill then you move out a bit until you do. And if the site you find isn’t perfectly located for the children who will go there, then you just have to deal with it.
And I think this is something that the Charedi community generally will have to come to terms with as the number of children in the community grows exponentially.
I travelled for two and half hours everyday I went to school there and back. That was a massive inconvenience. But I don’t think for a second that I have a right not to be inconvenienced.
I am aware that there are Charedi customs and traditions regarding having schools and synagogues in the vicinity. And I make no judgement on that. We are a religiously tolerant society and I would hate for that to be threatened.
But we are not a religious society and in law we see those who follow religious customs and traditions as doing so through choice. Therefore the fact that there may be Charedi customs and traditions regarding this should have absolutely no bearing on the assessment of need."
Cllr Mulready sits on the planning committee but was not allowed in the room during the vote or to take part in other discussions after declaring a personal interest in this planning application. Some of the issues here were addressed in the last piece: Does school row expose 'Charedi coup'?