Council wins Appeal Court fight over Dudley mosque

A Muslim association has failed in a Court of Appeal battle to build a mosque on a contested site in Dudley.

London's Royal Courts of Justice
London's Royal Courts of Justice

In a ruling in London yesterday, three judges held that Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council had not abused its powers when it sought return of the land at the centre of the dispute.

Dudley Muslim Association had agreed to a contract that stipulated that if the development wasn’t completed by the end of 2008, the land should be returned.

They missed that deadline and as a result the judges – Lords Justices Lewison and Treacy and Lady Justice Gloster – unanimously ruled that the contract should be respected and that the council was entitled to return of the land.

Lord Justice Lewison, who described the case as a "sad story," said in his judgment that "at an earlier stage in the story" the council had offered to use its compulsory purchase powers to find a new site for the mosque. He added that that offer "has not been withdrawn."

He continued: "It is to be hoped that further cooperation between the parties will result in the identification and acquisition of an alternative site on which the new mosque can be built."

At the appeal hearing last week lawyers for the association asked the court to prevent land on which the association has long sought to build a mosque being seized back by the council.

The appeal was against an earlier High Court decision in London in which a judge had had also backed moves by the council to reclaim ownership of the site at Hall Street.

The case centres on a lease granted by the council in 2003 to the association for development of the Hall Street.

The Muslim Association claimed that they have been the victims of an abuse of power by the council. The council argued that this was a dispute between "two properly advised parties to a commercial property transaction"

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council v Dudley Muslim Association. Case Number: A3/2014/0745


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