Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New mosque gets go-ahead: Planning inspectorate grants four-year trial on space for 95 Muslim worshippers

Mosque plan: The old bank in Green Lane
Mosque plan: The old bank in Green Lane
An application to turn the old bank in Green Lane into a place of worship was first submitted in 2012 and following the planning inspectorate’s decision, which published its findings on Wednesday, May 13, the community can expect the development to go ahead on a four-year trial.Permission for a mosque with space for up to 95 worshippers in Worcester Parkhas been granted after the long-running planning saga came to an end.
Paul Scully, MP for Sutton and Cheam, said: “I am really surprised at the decision.
“Parking and congestion is already an issue for people.
“I can’t see how this won’t exacerbate the situation.
“However, I’ll work constructively with trustees of the mosque to ensure that this four-year trial works as smoothly as possible for both worshippers and residents.”
The inspector, Richard Clegg, dismissed plans for the mosque to accommodate 140 worshippers stating it would be “likely to have a severe localised impact on traffic movement and potentially on highway safety”.
Mr Clegg said the harm of the 140 worshippers plans would not be outweighed by the importance of meeting a need for a mosque in Worcester Park. He admitted a “smaller scheme for 95 worshippers would also have an adverse effect,” but he did “not consider that effect would be severe”.
Other conditions attached to the plan include its opening hours, between 5am and 11pm, except between March 1 and September 1 or during Ramadan, when it may have extended use.He said: “On balance the benefits would outweigh the harm, and temporary permission for a period of four years would enable the effect of the use on traffic movement and highway safety to be fully assessed.”
The building can only have 95 people inside it during Salat-al-Jumu’ah prayers on Fridays, Festival Eid prayers and prayers on the first, fifth and 26th nights of Ramadan.
At all other times its capacity will be limited to 40 people.
For those concerned about issues of traffic, the inspectorate has also insisted that before opening, the mosque must provide a travel plan.
Hugh Bryne, chairman of the Worcester Park Residents’ Association, said he would reserve comment until reading the full details of the plans, but added that as the mosque will be part of the community they must be welcomed as such.

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