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West Bridgford
Monday, 25 January 2021

West Bridgford Mosque: Recommendation to refuse – but final decision delayed as late representation from applicant takes proposal to Secretary of State

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The Rushcliffe Borough Council virtual planning committee meeting was held this evening at 6:30 pm 

The Meeting: 

Cllr Richard Butler – Chairman of Planning Committee

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Cllr Butler reads out the proposals –

Mr Andrew Pegram ( Service Manager for Communities at Rushcliffe Borough Council ) – reads out a late representation – the committee has been given notice by applicant that they have lodged an appeal against non-determination – meaning that this committee will not make a decision tonight nor is it now in their jurisdiction , but they will consider ‘as if’ they did have jurisdiction and forward that recommendation to the Secretary of State ( Planning Inspectorate.)

One ward councillor was in favour and one ward councillor was against the plans, this meant a lot of preparation had to be made to prepare the proposals  – this resulted in the matter not being dealt with within the eight week period.

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Eight weeks is the time period that applications have to reach committee meeting stage – this application is outside that period – and so the applicant has the right to appeal non-determination. This means this committee tonight will not decide – but will make representations to the Planning Inspectorate.

Cllr Clarke questions this delay.

Agenda item – 173 Loughborough Road – Place of Worship

Mr Pegram shows lots of photographs of the area and of the building and the planned proposals

He shows the parking flow plans ( available on the plans on RBC website )

Explains that a dental surgery and a place of worship are in the same use bracket ( D1 ) but the plans for the dental surgery were passed as for use as ONLY a dental surgery – hence the need for this application.

Environmental Health – no objection to proposals except limit operating hours to 0700 – 2300

Env Health – No unacceptable harm to residents

Highways Agency – No major problem to traffic infrastructure

Public speaker – Frances Williams – ‘On behalf of 134 neighbours in Chaworth Road and surrounding sites – Max 14 worshippers seems unrealistic – we think recommendation of reduced hours doesn’t go far enough – a place of worship also in Loughborough Road has lower max capacity and shorter operating hours. Chaworth Road effectively ‘single track’ road with bottlenecks caused if cars need to pass each other – this pressure will be made much worse with a near six-fold increase predicted by transport surveys. Local parking is under stress – commuters use Chaworth Road as a park and ride facility. People ( users ) may come in from other areas. Wrong facility in wrong place.’

Speaker – Cllr B Gray ward councillor 

‘We’ve spoken to many residents about the application – the case for it is well thought out – WB has a growing Muslim community – it will reduce case use to locations out of the borough – improve community cohesion – many neighbours accept the need for a mosque.’

‘Wants all facts for and against to be heard.’ ‘No similar local place of worship.’ Some concernsm on road impact, noice and parking, feel it could be the wrong location.’

Mr Pegram – Clarifies the application is for a Place of Worship not faith-dependent.

Cllr Neil Clarke – Echo residents’ comments of wrong location  – in my view that’s correct.

‘Is a need for facility but not in this location – parking problems and noise are the relevant factors here – ASDA for example has its traffic contained on its premises – cars in this tighter residential area are a different matter. As a dental practice only a couple of people would be coming and going at any oner time. Parking – 14 spaces – Highways Authority acknowledge this is substandard.’

‘This change of use is quite different to the change of use to a dentist – they are at concentrated times.’ ‘It’s not realistic that people will walk to this site.’ ‘If max number of people is 14 – who will check that?’ ‘Unrealistic to expect residents to endure noise very early morning and late in evenings.’ ‘Is there an audible call-to-prayer’? ( Asks for clarification )

Cllr Clarke proposes that the Planning Inspectorate be informed that ‘we refuse’ the application based on operating hours, parking and noise in residential streets.

Mr Pegram

Ref call-to-prayer – ‘There is no audible call-to-prayer.’

‘It’s unenforceable to monitor how many people would be on-site at any fine time.’

Cllr Gowland 

‘Not clear why we can’t put an occupancy limit on this to indicate our intention for a maximum.’

Cllr Debbie Mason

‘Have an issue with the traffic, on a crossroads on a corner. A mosque has been required in West Bridgford for some time – I still think this location is the wrong place – but 0700 to 2300 is longer hours than bars used to be open for, they are very long hours for a place of worship.’ ‘I have struggled with this but still think the 14 people suggestion will be more people than that. I support refusal.’

Recommendation 

The recommendation of the meeting is to recommend refusal to the Planning Inspectorate 

for the reasons of…

Noise and disturbance

Operating hours

Parking

VOTE ( to recommend refusal to Planning Inspectorate)

7 FOR

4 AGAINST

 

What the Planning Inspectorate does

The Planning Inspectorate deals with planning appeals, national infrastructure planning applications, examinations of local plans and other planning-related and specialist casework in England and Wales.


More information and history of the application 

The application was lodged on Wednesday 29 Jul 2020

The application from the Fazilat Foundation, a non-profit organisation is to change the use of the building from the dentist – which sits on the corner of Chaworth Road and Loughborough Road in a densely populated residential area – to a mosque.

The planning application submitted to Rushcliffe Borough Council in July for a change of use to the former dental practice at the corner of Chaworth Road and Loughborough Road was ‘recommended’ by council planners on 4 November. 

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The recommendation with conditions was not a ‘green light’ yet because the application moves forward to this Planning Meeting tonight ( 12 November ) where the matter was discussed and voted on.

The plans received 554 representations ( public comments ) of which 325 indicated support and 224 indicated objection.

The permission changes use from the former dental surgery to a place of worship, but the application states that the use is for a mosque.

No external changes to the appearance of the building were requested as part of the plans.

Residents living in local roads say that they are unhappy about the operating hours, noise and parking problems that may accompany the changes.

The proposals are for the building to be utilised as follows:

Weekday Prayers
5 times per day – numbers of worshippers to be approximately 0-14 people at any one prayer time for periods of 15-30 mins (equating to around 2-3 hours per day)
Friday Prayers
45 minute prayer meeting 1:15pm-2pm
Ramadan
Evening Prayer for 90 minutes
Eid Ul Fitr
Once annually for 90 minutes
Eid Ul Adha
Once annually for 90 minutes

Access to the proposals will be from two locations, one from the Loughborough Road elevation and the second from the Chaworth Road elevation serving the needs of the place of worship.

There is presently existing car parking for up to 16 cars which will be maintained as part of the proposals.