Mosque plan provokes complaints about noise and traffic – from people who don’t even live in the area

Millfield mosque protest
Paul Dixon with anti-mosque protestors in January

Complaints from across Sunderland have now been registered on the city council’s website against a proposed mosque.

The controversial proposal to convert an old transport depot on St Mark’s Road, Millfield, into an Islamic place of worship has sparked a heated debate in the community as to whether it should go ahead.

If the plans get the green light, they will involve the demolition of single-storey offices, the erection of parapet walls and two brick-faced columns. But many of the neighbours have objected because they believe it will result in an increase in noise and traffic.

The application, which was submitted by the Pakistan Islamic Centre, has now drawn more than 1,000 comments on the council’s website. But while many are from people who live in Millfield, there are also objections from people in Seaburn, Southwick and Hylton.

After initially submitting their plan, it is believed the application was revised to allow more room for parking.

The campaign against the mosque has also seen local politicians getting involved with ex-Lib Dem councillor Paul Dixon attending a protest in January.

At the time he said: “All credit has to go to the residents on this and it’s been a difficult time for them to get all the objections in. People are concerned about noise, traffic and parking. There’s also the impact on the character of the area.”

Sunderland Echo, 16 July 2012

Alas for Paul Dixon, cosying up to anti-mosque protestors did him no good at all – in May’s elections to Sunderland City Council he lost heavily to the Labour candidate. The National Front also stood in Millfield ward, in an attempt to exploit the anti-mosque campaign, and got 122 votes. (Their candidate, Paul Birleson, was involved in the EDL/NF attack on an anti-Jubilee party in Newcastle last month.)