From pub to mosque? Ilford community centre on site of former pub seeks planning permission

Planning application 1292/18 seeks to change the use of the At-Taqwa Academy in Ley Street to includ

Planning application 1292/18 seeks to change the use of the At-Taqwa Academy in Ley Street to include a place of worship. Photo: Google - Credit: Archant

A former Ilford pub-turned-religious education centre may also be used as a mosque if a planning application gets the green light.

The council’s planning committee will consider an application to change the use of the 104-106 Ley Street branch of the At-Taqwa Academy to include a place of worship at Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, on July 19.

The academy - a registered charity which provides religious education classes - is based within the site of the former Red Cow pub, which closed down in December 2011.

Planning documents indicate the building will continue its existing use but would also include prayers five times a day and large gatherings of up to 250 people every Friday lunch time and twice a year for Eid prayers.

“Due to this excellent location, the attendees are not expected to travel to the site by car, even if they do, they would be using the nearby car parking spaces,” the application reads.

The car parks referred to are the The Ilford Exchange shopping mall car park and Ley Street car park.

A management plan also indicates that site marshals will be used to manage worshippers’ entry and exit to the site and direct drivers towards the car parks.

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A timetable of prayer and educational events taking place in summer and winter reveals that between 20 and 80 people will visit the site and varying times throughout the day from Monday to Friday.

Among the classes offered by the charity include Qu’ran recitation, weekend play groups and youth clubs.

At the time of writing, 55 representations have been submitted with the vast majority in support the planning application.

Many of those in favour state that they will be happy to have a place of worship within walking distance of their home or workplace.

The three objections raise concern the impact that an estimated 250 worshippers will have on parking and congestion in neighbouring roads and noise pollution.

One objector prefers that the building not be affiliated with any religion to be as inclusive as possible.