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Sunday, 20 June 2010

Oldham Madrassa Complaints Finally Addressed

Madrassa Complaints Finally Addressed

NICK GRIFFIN MEP has intervened to ensure that a non-registered Madrassa operating in the Oldham area conforms to standard legal requirements. He was responding to a plea for help by local residents who felt that the council wasn’t taking seriously their complaints about the Madrassa.
The Madrassa/Meeting room located on a back lane in Oldham, was established recently by a local resident in a former workshop/storage building to provide evening and weekend Islamic schooling for up to 40 children. Residents had raised concerns with the council regarding the noise and disruption associated with this new development, but little action had been taken to address the issue.
Nick wrote to the Planning Department, outlining the concerns of local residents and referring to the council’s pledge to “value the importance of customer complaints... and respond within 15 working days”.
Oldham Council certainly met its promise on this occasion and the MEP received a reply from the principal Planning Officer 10 days later, stating that he, along with a representative from the Environmental Health office, had gained access to the Madrassa and the developer had been informed that planning permission is required for a change of use.
He has also informed his colleagues in the Building Control office and School Improvement Team about the school, so that compliance with the necessary legislative requirements can be ensured.
It is understood that the developer intends to submit an application for retrospective planning permission shortly, and that this will be subject to consultation with nearby residents. If this application is refused, enforcement action could be taken under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
While Oldham Council has on this occasion - albeit with a little prompting - responded to residents’ concerns about this unregistered/unauthorised operation, complaints which may be politically sensitive are ignored all too often in the interests of “good community relations”. 
We have reported previously on this website, for instance, that some councils in the Northwest region are turning a blind eye to residents who claim that their properties are used as mosques in order to exploit a loophole in the council tax system. Mosques are exempt from full council tax charges, and perhaps not surprisingly, there has been a significant rise recently in the number of exemption claims submitted in certain areas. When the MEP’s constituency staff tried to confirm whether the expected comparative rise in the number of “change of use” (from residential to mosque/meeting place) certificates granted had occurred, they were informed that this information wasn’t available. In other words, there isn’t a cross-referencing system in place to ensure that council tax exemption claims relate to properties which are genuinely used as mosques, they are simply accepted in good faith - a most unusually tolerant and trusting approach that is not equally applied to benefit applicants from those “not-so-favoured” sections of the community. 
If you are experiencing similar problems to the Oldham residents with your local council, and feel your complaints are being brushed aside, please let your British National Party MEP, Nick Griffin, know. He will be pleased to act on your behalf, and is not restricted by the nonsensical “politically correct” straightjacket which other politicians and people in authority appear to wear with such exaggerated enthusiasm.
Don’t Accept a Brush-off: Take Action!
It is a very simple process to lodge a complaint against a development which you suspect doesn’t conform to legislative requirements. Write to your local council, expressing your views with reference to issues such as the planning history of the site, the visual impact of the development, the affect on the public in terms of noise/disruption, access, traffic and highway considerations, the impact on listed buildings/ conservation areas, etc. Councils are obliged to respond to complaints within set time limits and can be held to account if they fail to do so.
read more at Nick Griffin MEP for the North West