Yesterday’s (June 25) meeting of Leeds City Council’s plans panel north and east heard number 15 and 17 Sandhurst Road, Harehills, have been used to provide after school education for children through religious and social activities since 2006.
Residents complained of “unbearable” noise and raised concerns over increased traffic.
Councillors expressed fears for children’s safety if fire broke out after hearing up to 100 children at a time could be taught in the two houses. They voted unanimously to refuse the application.
Coun Stuart McKenna (Lab, Garforth and Swillington), said: “Those houses aren’t big enough to accommodate 20 children, never mind 50 to 60. I would no way on earth be happy to give approval for this.”
Coun John Procter (Cons, Wetherby), said: “The notion that you can fit this many young people in such a space is ridiculous, Frankly, it’s an accident waiting to happen.”
The panel heard enforcement action would be taken to ensure the houses are no longer used as an educational establishment.
Professor Abdul Rehman, of LECS Education Centre Ltd, had applied for planning permission and a 124-signature petition in support was submitted to the council. After the meeting, Prof Rehman said: “I will find a new place because safety of the children comes first.” Retired Leeds firefighter Clem Birkenshaw, 62, of neighbouring Sandhurst Place, spoke against the planning application at yesterday’s meeting. He said later: “It is a victory for the people that have had to put up with all the hassle on the street.”