Newham blocks 9,000-capacity mosque

The London Borough of Newham has rejected plans for a mosque with room for nearly 10,000 worshippers on grounds including its scale and impact on local transport.

An artists's impression of the proposed mosque
An artists's impression of the proposed mosque

The proposals, which included the new mosque, library and a dining hall capable of holding 2,000 people, were rejected at a meeting of Newham’s Strategic Development Committee on Wednesday evening.

The six-hectare site for the proposed mosque is located at the southern end of Canning Road, Stratford, near to the Olympic Park.

In a statement the council said its planning policies promote the development of the site "for a mix of residential, employment and community uses, to help create a new local centre near West Ham station and regenerate the area. The creation of new homes and jobs are a priority for Newham Council".

"It is not considered that this application is consistent with these policies. There are also concerns about the size of the proposed buildings and impact on parking and traffic in the local area", it added.

Apart from the proposals being contrary to the planning policy for the site, the council also found that they were unacceptable for a number of other reasons. These are:

  • The proposed mosque building is too big and would have an impact on important historic buildings nearby;
  • It would generate too much traffic resulting in people parking on local residents' streets;
  • The site is heavily contaminated raising safety issues which are not properly addressed by the application;
  • The application proposes keeping existing buildings on the site, which are poorly designed.

Conor McAuley, Newham Council's executive member for regeneration and strategic planning, said: "Councillors have considered this application at length and with great care before deciding to reject it. The council undertook a rigorous and extensive consultation about the proposals in the run-up to this decision".

The mosque had been intended to replace one in a former warehouse the religious group behind the plans had been illegally using since 2006, when a temporary permit to use the site as a place of worship expired.

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