Abbey Mills mosque to be demolished
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Thursday February 08 2018
The Abbey Mills mosque in Stratford, East London – which is attended by more than 2,000 worshippers a week – faces demolition after the High Court upheld the local council’s refusal over the mosque’s planning permission.
The mosque was built as a temporary establishment by the Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat, who had purchased the land in 1995.
The organisation had initially sought permission to develop a permanent place of worship for around 9,000 people but the planning permission was rejected by Newham council in 2012.
The refusal was accompanied by significant opposition from some local residents.
One petition saw over 250,000 voice their concerns over the plans for the mosque. The organisers of the petition claimed that the mosque would “cause terrible violence and suffering”.
The then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, denounced the petition at the time and said it was factually inaccurate.
The Tablighi Jamaat group, following refusal from Newham council, appealed to – what is now – the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which also rejected the proposal, in 2015.
Since then the organisation has overseen the operation of the temporary mosque, at Abbey Mills.
The organisation advanced the case to the High Court hoping to overturn the demolition order.
However, the judge upheld the refusal and ordered Tablighi Jamaat to pay £22,207 in costs to the council.
A spokesperson from Newham council expressed appreciation of the decision and said “The council now expects the owners of the site to fully comply with the court’s judgement and would welcome positive dialogue to bring forward a comprehensive development proposal that the council can support”.
However, there remains uncertainty around what proposal the council would “support”.
Mr Conor McAuley – the then Newham council’s Executive Member for Regeneration and Strategic Planning – said in 2012 that “our planning policies promote the development of the Abbey Mills site for a mix of residential, employment and community uses… It is not considered that this application is consistent with these policies”.
However, the submitted application also planned for the development of “multi-use game areas, tennis courts, sports pavilion and open space”.
As such the plans were not solely focussed on simply the development of the mosque but also on “a mix of residential…and community uses”.
The Tablighi Jamaat organisation has until the 16th of February to advance the case to the court of appeal.