‘Racism’ row over Preston mosque vote

The controversial decision to allow a mosque to be built in a Preston conservation area has taken a new twist with politicians turning it into a race row. Conservative councillor Geoff Driver was accused of racism after he named Labour councillors he had spoken to about their roles in the approval of the place of worship in Watling Street Road, Fulwood. At a Town Hall meeting yesterday, he claimed one member of the planning committee, Coun John Browne, had abstained because of the “power of the Muslim vote.”

Coun Driver, who represents the Greyfriars ward of Fulwood, said: “The decision made by the planning committee was an absolutely outrageous one that defied all logic, all planning regulations and went dead against the advice of the officers. It leads you to ask why would that happen? Perhaps there’s a sinister reason why it was approved and I think there was. I’m of the opinion that if any other application had been made, even if it had been a Christian place of worship, it would have been rejected.”

Preston Today, 27 April 2007