Mosque to begin running in former Ilford pub as temporary planning application gets green light

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 July 2018

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

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


A former Ilford pub-turned-religious education centre will now also be used as a mosque for the next year after gaining temporary planning permission.

The council’s planning committee agreed unanimously to green light an application to change the use of 104-106 Ley Street branch of the At-Taqwa Academy to include a place of worship for one year 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.

More than 60 representations had been submitted for the application - the vast majority positive.

Neil Goates, the council officer in charge, explained that the centre were applying for temporary permission after a previous application for permanent permission was rejected.

After considering the feedback from the first application, a temporary application was then submitted so that the impact the mosque would have on the area on noise and congestion in the area could be reviewed.

Ley Street resident Iqbal Ahmed, who lives less than 100m from the proposed mosque, spoke against the application.

He raised concerns about pressures the worshippers would create on parking in the area.

He said: “My mum is disabled, she lives on the ground floor of my house.

“We have had to ring the ambulance on two occasions and we are a bit concerned about the whether we will have to be competition with the mosque.”

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.

Mr Iqbal also raised concerns about the inclusiveness of the worshippers.

“My understanding is that this [mosque] will be male only and that this is also a particularly conservative sect,” he said.

Referring to the female members of his family, he added: “I don’t want feel that people are going to make comments about what they are wearing.”

A representative from At-Taqwa, accompanied by tens of supporters, spoke in favour of the application.

He said: “I ask that the council uses its discretion to grant full permanent planning permission.”

Addressing the Mr Ahmed’s concerns, the At-Taqwa spokesman added: “We have programmes specifically for sisters and joint programmes for males and females.”

“The honourable gentleman before me maybe hasn’t seen the women coming before.

“I would like to invite him for a cup of tea and show him around.

He added: “The doors are always open for anyone in the community to come in - Muslim and non-Muslim.”

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