Dudley mosque plan rejected by High Court

Plans to build a new mosque on a derelict site in the centre of Dudley have been thrown out by the High Court.

In September, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council refused permission for a second time to build an £18m mosque and community centre on Hall Street.

Accusations of unfairness and “abuse of power” made by the Dudley Muslim Association against the council were rejected by the court. Dudley Muslim Association said it would appeal against the ruling.

Kurshid Ahmed, from the association, said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the judgement and claimed the planning dispute had damaged community relations. He also called for an independent hearing into the planning process, which dates back to 2005, when the association bought the plot of land.

Following the High Court decision, the association is now required to sell the Hall Street site back to the local authority within the next month.

John Polychronakis, chief executive the council, said the decision, “subject to any appeal, brings to an end the unfortunate dispute over the land.”

It is the second time the dispute has been taken to the High Court after the council lost its attempt to overturn a planning inspectorate decision in 2009.

Seven months ago the authority ruled against the project for a second time, saying the scale and design of the building would be out of keeping with buildings in the area.

Mr Ahmed said the association remained committed to building a centre for use by the entire community, and called on Dudley Council to work with it to identify another site.

BBC News, 17 April 2012