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New Muslim community centre plan is rejected

Parking concerns among the reasons for planners turning down scheme

Dan Cooper

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Dan Cooper

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01635 886632

New Muslim community centre plan is rejected

PLANS to build a new centre for West Berkshire’s Muslim community have been refused.

The proposals involve converting redundant offices in Pound Court – previously occupied by M4 Design – for the purposes of religious instruction, worship, education, training and indoor leisure use.

However, despite being situated yards away from its current home, the mosque in Pound Street, district council planners turned down the Bangladesh Welfare Centre’s application.

The centre says it is planning to appeal the decision and, if successful, wants to move into the new building by the time its current lease expires in 2020.

Earlier this year, the Newbury Weekly News reported that an anonymous letter was posted to residents, urging them to object to the plans.

West Berkshire Council received 271 letters of representation, most raising objection, with some in support.

There were also 88 letters with personal details withheld or that were not considered suitable for publication.

The main areas of concern were highway congestion, lack of parking, numbers gathering, noise and disturbance from activities, new building and use not appropriate to location or Newbury.

Giving its reasons for refusal, the council said: “Given the location of the site, close to a traffic signalised junction and likely number of attendees (up to 110) during Friday prayers (between 1pm and 2pm), there is insufficient off-street parking provided, which could result in vehicles stopping on the highway to drop off/collect worshippers, or reversing onto the highway.

“This could obstruct traffic flow and the operation of the junction, which would be to the detriment of highway safety and the free-flow of traffic.

“It is admittedly only once a week, but it is considered on balance that the numbers expected are enough to cause concern in such proximity to a traffic signal junction on a route into the town centre.

“The proposed development is in an area of mixed residential and commercial use, close to Newbury town centre.

“Insufficient information has been provided by the applicant to enable a thorough assessment of potential noise and disturbance from the proposed use.

“The application is therefore considered likely to result in undue disturbance to neighbouring residential amenities.”

However, outlining the positive impact the new centre would have, the council said: “The site is located within the defined settlement of Newbury in the town centre commercial area.

“While the proposed change of use would result in the loss of an office building, the new use would provide a community facility, helping to promote a healthy community.

“The site, at the edge of the town centre commercial area, is within a sustainable location and the use would contribute to the viability and vitality of the community and town centre.”

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Article comments

  • bruin the bear

    08/11/2017 - 20:08

    This was to be a centre for the Bangladeshi community who are decent law abiding hardworking folk. I bet the situation would have been different for a non conformist group! These people are here in the town. It's too late to turn the clock back. Live and let live.

    Reply

    • dazzer

      10/11/2017 - 11:11

      Just a few of the hundreds of peaceful commands preached in Mosques up and down this country daily - 9.23. O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who are the Al-Muttaqun (the pious - see V.2:2). 9.29. Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 2.216. Jihad (holy fighting (Struggle) in Allah's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.

      Reply

  • scooberdoo3

    08/11/2017 - 15:03

    Common sense prevailed this time, but only because the council were put under, a lot of pressure by so many objections. They are under so much politically correct pressure to pass these applications by central government that it is unusual not to pass these applications. Well done to all those who had the courage to use their democratic voice to sensibly object to these plans.

    Reply

  • Tiana

    08/11/2017 - 13:01

    It is a very good decision. It is in totally the wrong place given the amount of people using their present mosque, this would have doubled/trebled the amount attending. Little thought is given to other road users now, picking up/dropping off, their cars block the road. Move this further down right on a junction and it would be chaos.

    Reply

  • MikeyB

    08/11/2017 - 12:12

    These places only encourage segregation not integration and always will do. we all feel it us and them we all know it right up and down the country none of us wants to go in there and they do not want us in there. They are fortunate to have the place they already do now. Whenever i go past there and there are some stood outside i always get funny looks and feel very uncomfortable walking past there with my daughter while going to the coop shop next to it. The problem is our cultures are so different we will never integrate we have no similar interests at all. Maybe if they got more involved in our national holidays and celebrations and got down pubs more (you do not have to drink alcoholic drinks) then we would get to know them better and become more friendly. we are not trying to be horrible but this is not a Muslim country it is a Christian one. and we just simply do not like these places being here.

    Reply

    • AllSeeingEyes

      09/11/2017 - 14:02

      Come on Mikey Batsford, it’s for a place of worship not a local nightclub meet & greet, whilst I take all people opinions on board & respect them whether I agree with them or not the opinion is everybodies entitlement. But the only hypocrisy which amuses me is how many of these people have attended church recently not for a wedding or christening but for an actual service & worship

      Reply

    • Caretaker

      09/11/2017 - 07:07

      Can you change “we” to an “I” please as you do not speak for me. I respect your views, they are wrong, but I respect them.

      Reply

    • AndreaS

      08/11/2017 - 20:08

      I’m not familiar with the details of this application, the reasons for which it was turned down might be right ones - I don’t know - but I do worry about some of the comments expressed here. A mosque is not a place of segregation is a place for praying, as any other temple. The United Kingdom ensures the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; and the policy of the British government is to support religious freedom. As far as I understand, the cultural centre was intended to promote cultural understanding by inviting others, of any faith or of none at all, to associate and share points of view. The effort for integration should come from all parts of society, the terms “us and them” are divisive and unhelpful.

      Reply

      • dazzer

        10/11/2017 - 11:11

        I am wondering if you have ever been in a mosque? Ever read the Koran? There is verse after verse of hate and commands of violence and murder - This is what is being preached everyday in every Mosque. 9.29. Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 9.73 O Prophet (Muhammad )! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them, their abode is Hell, - and worst indeed is that destination. 9.14 Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people. Hundreds of verses just like those examples.

        Reply

    • Bombey

      08/11/2017 - 15:03

      what utter cobblers.

      Reply

      • sayitasitis

        08/11/2017 - 16:04

        Totally agree MikeyB, just waiting for the obligatory morons to start throwing the racist card about!!

        Reply

        • grumpy

          08/11/2017 - 17:05

          Well said MikeyB and sayitasitis

          Reply

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