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Petition launched against Mosque’s longer opening hours

Nottingham residents have expressed their concerns over parking problems and noise if plans are approved to extend the opening hours of a learning and prayer centre.

Wollaton House, which is used as a mosque and learning centre in Radford Bridge Road wants a variation of its opening hours.

It wants to extend its hours from 6.30am to 11pm daily (with seasonal variation) excluding Ramadan, with 6.30am to 9am and 9am to 11pm being for prayer only.

Some months – January, February, November and December – would see the centre close at 9pm.

The application is set to be brought before the council’s planning committee for determination due to “the significant level of public interest.”

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More than 140 neighbouring properties have been notified including residents on Radford Bridge Road, Seaford Avenue and Westhay Court.

There have been eight objections over the centre extending its opening hours, mainly around noise and the parking issues.

A petition has also been signed by 71 residents.

Concerned residents said: “Since the beginning of the centre’s operation in 2011/12, our problems have been ongoing and have caused major problems for the residents nearby, especially to residents on Radford Bridge Road.

“These include traffic and parking issues, noise from car engines and slamming doors, noise from gatherings in the centre’s car park but also in the streets.

“If approved it would exacerbate an already difficult situation leading to further upset of neighbours and is not good for community cohesion.

“Since last year the double yellow lines on Radford Bridge Road have not stopped attendees from parking on them and causing dangerous conditions and congestion.

“This is at various times, including afternoons and evenings, when parents bring and collect their children.”

Seven representations have been received expressing support for the centre to permanently incorporate early morning and evening prayer.

One local resident considers the extended hours to be acceptable, subject to noise levels being kept low during these hours.

Planning officers at Nottingham City Council believe that planning permission should be granted.

An officer said: “Residents continued concerns regarding traffic congestion and on-street parking relate to use of the centre during its core hours of opening and specifically to the comparatively short period of time associated with Friday afternoon prayer, the dropping off and picking up of children for religious education and during the Ramadan period.

“Whilst this continues to generate a significant number of cars and brings the potential for periodic conflict, the applicant had taken steps to manage the situation during peak usage with the implantation of its approved travel plan.

“The new parking restrictions along Radford Bridge Road have further contributed towards the easing of parking problems along the street.”

They said “on balance” that it would not be justified in planning terms to refuse permission for the extended hours.

Councillors will decide the fate of the application when they meet on Wednesday, 20 April.

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