Worcester Park mosque plans set for second rejection

A controversial plan to open a mosque in Worcester Park is set to be rejected for the second time after almost 4,000 people signed petitions.

Plans to convert a disused bank building in Green Lane into a mosque are due to go before Sutton Council’s development control committee for a second time on Wednesday night. And, for a second time, the authority’s planning officers have recommended councillors on the committee refuse planning permission.

The original plan to convert the building into a place of worship for the local Muslim community was rejected in December last year on the grounds it would bring too much traffic to the area.

The new plans, submitted to the council earlier this year, feature a reduced maximum capacity – from 140 to 95 – and claim a travel plan will mean no-one would drive to the mosque, with worshippers either walking or taking public transport. The applicant has also proposed the permission be granted on a temporary basis for four years to see how it works out.

But the council’s planning officers, who recommend what course of action councillors on the committee should take, have cast doubt on the claims no-one would travel by car, say the trial period is too long and say the building is not suitable for the numbers of people expected.

The council planning officer’s report into the application concludes: “The applicant does not make a persuasive case that there would be adequate safeguards to ensure the number of worshippers at peak times will not result in harm to highway safety due to the likely increase in on-street parking at peak times in a manner that would be detrimental to the highway network and inconvenience all users.”

Two petitions objecting to the mosque were handed in to the council with a total of 3,873 signatures and 660 people wrote to the council to object with only six writing in support of the application.

The committee will make a ruling on the application at a meeting starting from 8pm on Wednesday at the Europa Gallery in Sutton Central Library, St Nicholas Way. Members of the public can attend.

Your Local Guardian, 23 September 2013

The mosque plan has been targeted by both the English Defence League and National Front. In June a swastika was daubed on the building.