Sydney court gives green light for controversial buidling of Islamic school

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Sydney, Dec.12 (ANI): A Land and Environment Court (LEC) in Sydney have given conditional approval on Thursday for a 1,200-student Islamic school to be built, despite it being rejected twice by the Bankstown Council.

The Daily Telegraph quoted NSW Greens MP John Kaye as saying the first problem was that the college would generate a lot of traffic and have a severe impact on residential streets. The second is the land was obtained by deception.

He claimed that the State Government was told it was going to be a residential development.

"When they first signed the contract for sale, it was signed to a company called Garden View Apartments with the understanding that it would be developed as apartments, as the name would imply. Just before the contract was finalised, Garden View Apartments exercised their right to change the name of the purchaser and they changed it to al-Amanah College. At that point the government made a massive mistake, Dr Kaye said.

"The government should have said, 'No, wait a minute, we're not going to sign the final contract ... it's very clear the government was concerned about it, people within the Department of Education became concerned about it. But they panicked and went ahead and signed ... which meant basically they were in trouble.''

Dr Kaye urged Education Minister Verity Firth to use her powers to obtain the land, so it could be used for public schools.

"As soon as possible, Minister Firth needs to exercise her powers under section 125 and resume the land, and then after question, well if there's demand for 1,200 students let's build a public education facility there that copes with that number of students,'' he said.

The LEC will next consider the development on December 19.

Principal Mohamad El Dana said the group would make minor planning changes requested by the court and expects full approval by December 19, with stage one - a kindergarten to Year 6 school - opening in 2011.

The Bankstown Council will not appeal against the decision but some residents have vowed to continue the fight. (ANI)

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