March 8 2014 Latest news:
by Harry Kemble, Reporter
Monday, December 23, 2013
Controversial plans to build a new South Woodford mosque have been rejected by a Redbridge Council planning committee.
The Qu’rani Murkaz Trust, which runs the South Woodford Community Centre Mosque in Mulberry Way, planned to demolish the existing building for a new three-storey mixed use development.
The plans included a ground floor prayer room, a community hall on the first floor and four residential flats.
But Cllr Robin Turbefield was left with the deciding vote after the six other councillors were split on whether to accept the proposal or not.
Cllr Turbefield decided the plan to expand the mosque was not compatible with, or contributing to, the distinctive character of the area.
Cllr Gwyneth Deakins, a ward councillor for Roding, who voted against the proposal, said: “I voted against, I suppose, because of the reasons that were given - it was too large a building for the location and the design policy was not met because of the size and the overshadow.”
Cllr Deakins said she was not sure if the QMT should re-submit another plan for the building, but said the planning committee would “look at each application on its merits.”
Speaking to the Recorder, after the decision at Sir James Hawkey Hall in Broomhill Road, Woodford Green, QMT Trust secretary, Qaiser Malik confirmed his group would be making an appeal.
He said: “We are disappointed that we lost only after the chairman cast his vote after a hung decision.
“It shows the Muslim community has earned the support of our local councillors, who observed that the applicant had complied with all of the requirements.
“The increasing needs of the local Muslim community are being fulfilled by our centre and we hope we will be successful.
“We are grateful to all the members who discussed [the plan] in detail for two hours.”