Controversial planning application for new Blackburn mosque withdrawn
NO MOSQUE: Vandalism at the school
THE controversial planning application for a new Blackburn mosque, which sparked the dumping of two pig heads at the Islamic girls’ school proposed for the development, has been withdrawn.
Cllr Andy Kay revealed the proposal has been dropped after it was ruled invalid by council officials.
He hopes that the correct procedures can be followed without any repeat of the weekend incident which is being investigated by the police as a potentially racist or religious hate crime.
The dumping of the pig heads, particularly offensive to Muslims, at the Markazul Uloom Girls School in Park Lee Road in Highercroft horrified religious and political leaders.
Now the school will have to restart the planning procedure and obtain proper designation as a place of worship if it wishes to go ahead with the scheme to add a mosque building with dome and minarets.
Highercroft councillor Mr Kay’s hopes of a reasoned debate on the issue have been echoed by Dean of Blackburn Christopher Armstrong, Lancashire Council of Mosques’ chairman Abdul Hamid Qureshi and the woman behind the 2,000-signature protest petition opposed to the scheme, Sara Herd.
Cllr Kay, deputy leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “The application by the Markazul Uloom School has been withdrawn by the school’s agent. The applicants were advised to do this because the application was invalid.
“A meeting will be held with the applicants, probably in late January, with the aim of discussing the issues raised at a recent meeting with local councillors and to advise on the planning permissions the school will need to apply for. Any new application will be subject to a wide consultation exercise with the local community.
“Hopefully this will now take the heat out of the situation. I hope the school will follow the proper planning procedures and the objectors will follow the correct democratic process. We do not want any repeat of the weekend’s appalling incident with the pig heads.”
Ms Herd, who has family and friends living in the Highercroft area, said: “This is fantastic news. This is the wrong place for a mosque or any other place of worship.
“I hope we can have a reasonable debate on the issue. We certainly do not want any repeat of the horrific weekend incident.”
Mr Qureshi said: “This is a wise and sensible decision by the school.”
A police spokesman said inquiries are ongoing.Dean Armstrong said: “I now hope all the proper procedures and democratic process are followed.”