South Woodford mosque’s expansion appeal thrown out

Images of South Woodford Mosque which were handed to Redbridge Council

Images of South Woodford Mosque which were handed to Redbridge Council - Credit: Archant

A mosque has suffered further set back in its bid to expand after an appeal was dismissed.

The appeal against Redbridge Council’s decision, lodged by Liquat Khan of Qurani Murkuz Trust in Mulberry Way, South Woodford, came after the authority rejected plans to demolish the community centre for it to be replaced by a three-storey building.

The proposed building comprised of a prayer room, community hall and four flats on the second floor.

The appeal was turned down by the planning inspectorate on the grounds of the new building’s effect on the character and appearance of the area.

The report on the South Woodford Community Centre Mosque admits the current building “is of no great design merit” and that a new building would be of a “better design”.

It also states: “However, from certain viewpoints looking from the south its bulk and height, combined with its plot coverage, would make it appear over-dominant and intrusive seen in conjunction with the much smaller scale neighbouring residential development.”

The document stated that the Trust’s attempts to scale down plans, by lowering the building’s roof height for instance, were “insufficient”.

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It added: “It is concluded that the proposed development would detract from the character and appearance of the surrounding area.”

Despite the report also concluding that the development would not harm neighbours’ living conditions with regards to privacy and quashing concerns about increased traffic as a result of the development, it found that the issue of its effect on the area’s appearance was “decisive”.

Cllr Gwyneth Deakins, who voted against the plans, said: “It’s not about it being a mosque, it would be the same if it was a shop or a block of flats.

“It’s the right decision. Unfortunately, what they wanted was just too big and it was turned down because it was out of proportion.”

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