> Update: February 2007
Prior to TET being established in June 2000, the Council affirmed its support for the establishment of a Muslim boy’s school within Hackney in a report issued in 1997. The support for a Muslim boy’s school has since been used by Michael Desmond when standing for Councillor in Cazenove Ward and by Diane Abbott when standing for MP of Hackney North in campaign literature. To date TET and its main project, the Tawhid Boys School, has received no support financial or otherwise from the Council and remains a purely voluntary initiative. This is despite the fact that it saves Central Government hundreds of thousands of pounds through pupils attending the fee-paying school rather than attending state schools, savings school places. This is also despite the fact that it alleviates the acute shortage of secondary school places in LB Hackney.
The long struggle of acquiring the Belfast Road site earmarked for the expansion of and to provide specialist facilities for Tawhid Boys School continues. It has been brought to the organisations attention that the site has been selected as one of two possible sites for locating Hackneys Community Voluntary Sector (HCVS) to be decided by the Cabinet at a meeting to be held on 18th December 2006.
Hackney’s then Managing Director Max Caller wrote to TET in April 2002 stating “…the Council will be happy to enter into a detailed Private Sale Treaty” and commissioned the District Valuer to produce a valuation based on sales of land to similar organisations for similar purposes. This valuation was made at £850,000 in May 2002 for residential purpose and not for community or educational use which was valued in October 2001 at £250K – £350K.
After numerous consultations with the Council, The Mayor of Hackney, Mr Jules Pipes and other Councillors, the Council refused to take into account the purpose of its intended use for the community and declined to accept any offers lower than the valuation. TET consulted with the local Muslim community and agreed to pay residential value of £850K in August 2003, despite seeing this as unfair, but at the time had no other alternative.
The Council informed TET that their offer will be considered by the Strategic Property Group (SPG) the same week as receiving the offer. No reply was received until TET again wrote back to inquire as to the SPG’s decision in October 2003. TET recieieved a reply back from the Council to inform them that “another party has submitted an offer above the £850K and that in light of this they cannot take further action until they have consulted the District Surveyor”. In November 2003, Hackney Council wrote back to TET to inform them that the property is not for sale as they have met their disposal targets and therefore has been taken off the Market for a strategic review.
The issue here is the future of education for Muslim boys, the children of Hackney, many of whom are now travelling out of the Borough to attend poorly performing schools due to the crises of secondary school place shortages.
We appeal to all members of the community to support the School in the coming months by attending public meetings and making dua’s.