Liverpool's Al Amanah College expansion queried

RESIDENTS living close to Liverpool's Al Amanah College fear the school will continue to grow — in size and student numbers — regardless of their concerns about the impact it is having on the area.

Tony Geci said the Muslim school, located on Speed Street, has been building new facilities without council approval for almost 10 years.

"They build whatever they want and then the council approves it afterwards," Mr Geci said.

At its December 23 meeting Liverpool Council approved a modification to the school's development application, which asked for permanent student numbers to be increased from 450 to 600 and staff numbers to increase by 10.

But Cr Peter Harle said the school had had 600 students for several years.

"I'm very disappointed with my fellow councillors for approving this," he said.

"This school has consistently breached their development application conditions and now they've been rewarded for doing it."

Mr Geci said residents did not have a problem with the school being there at first, but are now bothered by noise coming from the school and the traffic it had brought to local streets.

"This site is just too small for so many students.

"They've put in a playground where the drop-off and pick-up area was supposed to be and we've got hundreds of kids screaming all day just metres away from us."

But college principal Mohamad El Dana denied the school was causing "excessive traffic issues or excessive noise".

He said the school had "engaged acoustic consultants which provided accurate data regarding the noise issue" and will adopt all the recommendations they made.

Mr Geci said: "There are so many buildings that there is nowhere for the children to play and they have to go and play in Dunbeir Park across the road."

Neighbour Dragan Goranic said parents dropping off children at the school often park illegally in nearby streets.

"They park in your driveway and when you ask them to move, they just park in the next driveway," Mr Goranic said.

Mr El Dana said the school had always been committed to working closely with its neighbours to resolve any concerns they may have.

He said Dunbier Park had not been used as a playground by the school, but all schools could use local parks for events.

"The school has implemented a traffic management plan which has reduced issues of traffic congestions during pick-up and drop-off."

Cr Tony Hadchiti said he had voted to approve the changes because council officers had determined the school now complied with all requirements.

"If we didn't approve it, we would spend another $100,000 or $200,000 on legal costs because they would have taken us to the Land and Environment Court," Cr Hadchiti said.

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