Thursday, 22 November 2012

Public Meeting To Decide Mosque Fate

The fate of Worcester Park's mosque planning application will be decided a public meeting to be held on Monday 3rd December at Cheam High School. 

The meeting of Sutton Council's Development Control Committee will start at 7.30pm, and will be open to the public.

Sutton Council's planning officers will give a brief presentation of the proposal and Sutton residents may request the right to speak at the meeting and voice objection to the proposal, however under the Council's strict rules only one objector will be allowed to speak and for a maximum 4 minutes. 

A Ward Councillor will then be able to speak, followed by the Applicant - all of whom will also be limited to 4 minutes each. 

The Chair of the Committee will then be allowed to ask the objector or applicant to clarify any points of detail, following which the application for the mosque will be decided on a show of hands from the Committee.

The Development Control Committee, who will decide the application, will consist of:

Councillor John Leach (chair)
Monica Coleman (vice chair)
Eric Allen
Sheila Andrews
Janet Lowne
Mary Burstow
Moira Butt
Anisha Callaghan
Richard Clifton
Margaret Court
Stephen Fenwick
Peter Geiringer
Bruce Glithero
Lester Holloway
Edward Joyce
Wendy Mathys
Hamish Pollock
Roger Roberts
Tony Shields
Stan Theed
Graham Witham






72 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

shelokay said...

i really hope common sense prevails, not the fear of looking racist or any backhanders!!

Longfellowdave said...

Last time I ever vote lib dem

teatime said...

Sorry have I read this correctly? Only 1 objector is allowed to speak.

DT said...

Yes you have read that correctly, so you need to decide who is best placed to argue on the objectors behalf.

DT said...

What ever the political flavour the council has it has to follow the procedures as laid down by the planning acts.

teatime said...

This is highly unfair. In order to decide how to proceed we have to somehow all meet up.

Little Smiff said...

So if I've read this right Sutton residents, only, get a say in this. As an RBK resident on the Station Estate have I been wasting my time signing petitions and sending objection letters? Would explain why I have had no feedback at all despite the fact that once I cross the stream, which I have to exit the estate, I travel through Sutton and will suffer from the increased congestion when the plan gets approved.

ARR said...

I received a letter last week, informing me that objections had to be received by 30th November.

However, the deadline has just been moved forward! To TODAY!

Yes, today, on the evening of 22nd November, I have literally just picked up a letter dated 17th November, postmarked 20th November, informing me that the deadline for my representation to be included in the officer's report, and to be considered by the councillors, is 22nd November!!!

So instead of 3 weeks, I have now been given a new deadline of a few hours to produce a fully comprehensive, reasoned, argued and polished objection!

Or have my views and evidence excluded from the officer's report and our councillors' considerations and therefore, the planning process.



Surely Sutton Council can't simply inform an objector to a planning application that they've moved a deadline forward to ...a few hours time???

Duffy said...

Absolutely appalling to change the deadline date. Surely any decision made must become null and void for this reason alone. It may well be worth researching whether this is permitted and if it contravenes civil rights.

Duffy said...

I agree. Does anyone know if there is an organised objectors committee?

parkerilla said...

I expect the person will be from the Worcester Park Residents Association which is the "organised objectors committee" and has been very active in fighting this application. I'm happy with that having seen the WPRA at the various Hamptons planning meetings.

parkerilla said...

Why Cheam High School? Wouldn't the school hall at Green Lane primary be more local and appropriate, I've been to a couple of meetings there before and it's ideal. It's about the same size as the Cheam High School hall. Oh wait, I forgot, it's at the end of Green Lane, Sutton Council must have factored in that the traffic is so appalling in Green Lane/Central Rd already that no one would be able to get to the meeting (Tee Hee)

CoffeeBean said...

How can they change the deadline like that, anyone would think the council did not want anybody to object!

CoffeeBean said...

Given the meeting is little over a week away, is somebody from the WRPA (or anybody else) able to confirm that they will be organising some form of meeting/forum for objectors to 'get organised' to ensure that as many (if not all) objections can be discussed and a designated speaker agreed. No doubt the council gave the applicant plenty of time to prepare for this meeting, but is hoping those of us who object to this development are unable to organise ourselves sufficiently.

RogerRabbit said...

Well I am going to attend to see if the council do really represent the people and I urge other objectors to go too. Let's see if they will allow this atrocity to happen in front of the people who it will impact adversely

coffeebean said...

I agree, anyone who objects should attend the meeting if they can. The more people we that attend, the better it will be. Perhaps if the council can see we are simply residents who are genuinely concerned about the impact this development will have on the area then they might see sense. However, I fear the council has made its decision already and this meeting is just a sham to allow the council to say they followed procedure.

Chris said...

I'd keep hold of that letter and the envelope - it might be useful if this goes to appeal .

Neilfrog said...

Any news on a pre meet to agree the objections and representative speakers?

DC of WP. said...

If these councillors get this one wrong then they should know they won't be our councillors for long because the next time Sutton gets to vote for its representatives they are likely to be replaced.

teatime said...

Have just had a look on the WPRA's site who also oppose the mosque on the grounds of parking and traffic. I believe they are next meeting on the 29th November so worth checking if this meeting is open to all or just members.

teatime said...

Have just emailed so will let you know if I hear anything.

teatime said...

Have emailed to find out - will let you all know if I hear anything.

Dave said...

The Web page

http://213.122.180.105/FASTWEB/detail.asp?AltRef=A2012/66050&ApplicationNumber=A2012%2F6605&AddressPrefix=&submit1=Go

still says the deadline for "comments" is 30th November.
Doubtless the LBS IT Department will catch up eventually.

Anonymous. said...

I have to ask why this is even necessary? The residents of Worcester Park have clearly already said NO. This whole farce of a public meeting (for a decision which has probably already been made by the council) is pointless. This is (supposedly) a democracy. When the voters in the area say no, and there is no overwhelming public interest to ignore them, planning permission should be absolutely, unequivocally DENIED. We don't need a meeting to debate it.

john said...

I wish to express my displeasure at the proposed mosque ,the area is congested enough without adding to the increase in traffic , which has become horrendous since the building of the Hamptons. As there is a large mosque in Morden , a few miles down the road , is one in Worcester Park necessary ?

jeffers said...

This is the real face of 'democracy' in Sutton - complete disregard by the council and councillors for the justified and strongly felt views of the electorate they're supposed to serve.
They crow about the superiority of 'our' democratic system over regimes elsewhere in the world but their contempt for the will of the people show it's all a sham. What's the point in voting in local elections when this betrayal happens? This is why less and less people bother to vote for these crooks.

In France, Spain and Greece the people would be out on the streets demonstrating and courting the cameras of the news media - the only thing these local pond-life politicians fear. Are you listening, you useless bunch of self-serving councillors?
To the barricades, mes enfents!

ARR said...

The experiences of others on this page indicates that your misconceptions are extremely naive.

Bringing forward any deadline to object to a planning application to 'today' is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a willingness to 'follow the procedures'.

Nor is stating (in the same letter) that failing to submit an objection within the revised, artificial and impractical deadline will mean it is not be included in "The Officer's Report", which is the key document to be considered by Councillors who decide on the application..

Yes, we can email the 20+ Councillors with objections to their personal email addresses (that's if they are listed on the LBS website) and yes, on the day of the meeting, an 'addendum report' will be introduced containing (no doubt a lot) of objections which missed the impossible deadline, but how much time are Councillors going to individually spend wading through this artificial backlog and discussing them on the day itself?

To anyone with any understanding of "procedures as laid down by the planning acts" or any sense of objectivity, the task of objecting to this particular planning application is being made artificially difficult.

As for access by Councillors making the final decision, to any objections that will be successfully been received.: This looks to be taking the form of a last minute addition, which will no doubt reduce any time apportioned to them, obviously reducing their impact as far as possible.

parkerilla said...

I've been to a few WPRA meetings and they've always been open to non-members, in fact non-members are encouraged to attend and take part (and join if they wish for a modest £2 ) Sutton Council will no doubt have been in talks with WPRA for them to provide the responder.

Jan said...

I wish to oppose the the application for place of worship. The congestion in Worcester Park is already horrendous. Very short sighted of Sutton Council if it goes ahead as, will stop shoppers using Sutton High Street. Kingston will benefit.

DC of WP said...

We all seem to be expressing our opposition largely based upon parking and traffic congestion. Am I the only person concerned that this will lead to the devaluation of property, closing of businesses and the islamification of the area? If this planning application is approved the Worcester Park of today will change beyond recognition within 5 years. Businesses will close, properties will be devalued,the population will change, the mosque will expand, the list goes on.....

Don't respond by accusing me of racism or being islamaphobic. My concerns are valid and I suspect shared by many people who have avoided expressing these concerns for fear of being accused of being bigoted.

This fear of expressing all of our concerns will lead to the opposition being quite a narrow opposition based upon just a small number of concerns which will be more easily answered. If people share these wider concerns thn please express them.

parkerilla said...

DC of WP, I suspect most people share your concerns but they are not objections Sutton Council are allowed to take into account when deciding the application. The traffic and parking congestion are also genuine concerns but more importantly ones the Council must consider and could reject the application on that basis.

Guest of WP said...

Indeed, Parkerilla.

The applicant (and their small number of supporters) would, of course, love to shift our focus away from parking, traffic and the nonsense claim of "10-15 attendees" and throw up their hands in horror with an Oscar worthy tearful protest about 'house price racists'!


So don't give 'em the excuse and keep focused on the nonsense in their weak application.

Little Smiff said...

Does anyone have any information on what action can be taken against the applicants should they be found to breach any of the terms of this application in the event that it gets passed by LBS? Is it possible for WPRA, for instance, to submit an appeal based on the fact that regular attendance is much greater than the 10 - 15 people indicated in both the original and revised submission, the fact that traffic and disruption is increased despite the applicants claim that most visitors will use public transport or that the cycle bays are unused?

Andy said...

I am sitting in longfellow road trying to join central road, and I have been for 45 minutes.

I only chose longfellow as Green Lane was backed up all the way to the Hamptons.

This is when ALL the shops in Worcester Park are shut.

Its caused by literally THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of people trying to leave and/or pass through Worcester Park.

How is an extra 100 people going to make ANY difference whatsoever. It is a drop in the ocean!!!

The REAL issue is how we sort out this traffic mayhem in the long term!!

And we cannot do that by forcing derelict buildings to stay derelict, that is absolute NONSENSE!!

The mosque will have little impact on what is already a diabolical mess. The council need to spend their time and money worrying about how the hell Worcester Park can improve traffic for the next 25 years, not whether or no Worcester Park needs a mosque or not.

This is just madness.

DT said...

As I see it there are two reasons for a valid objection, the first and weakest is the siting in a residential area. The second and stongest is the effect on parking and my point of attack would be to use the parking survey performed. The survey states there is spare capacity, as that is best spin that they can put on it, when it in fact shows that it is close to saturation. I would also use Sutton Council's own plans to place a CPZ in the area, that can't have been for revenue raising :-) it must have been due to parking issues. Lastly I would use the argument of what will happen to local businesses, already in decline, when their customers can't park.

Dan said...

Some encouraging news on this front:

http://sutton.moderngov.co.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=24820

But it's not in the bag yet. The DCC still have final say, so make sure we go to this meeting for the final push. Though from this report and the 4143 objections (vs 234 support), some serious political questions would have to be asked if it still gets approved.

MrFrog said...

I recall that the parking survey was not conducted by Sutton or an impartial third party and was instead carried out by the applicant on a single Friday afternoon. This is not a representative survey of parking. Would it be possible for WP residents to conduct a second and more thorough audit?


I'd happily be involved in this if it would support the opposition.

DT said...

That would depend on the way these restrictions are imposed, if for example the building gets a fire certificate limiting it to a maximum of 20 persons, then if this exceeded the Local Fire Authority can have the place closed down. Other than that it seems you can't do very much except not vote for the councillors that passed it.

Little Smiff said...

Thanks DT for that answer. Sadly I don't even have the option of voting the counillors out of their seats as I am an RBK resident living on the Station Estate. Not allowed to register a protest against the planning proposal, can't vote the council out but will still be affected by parking in Green Lane and the exodus of traffic from Stone Place. So much for democracy.

Guest of WP said...

There are rather more than two valid and demonstrable reasons. The Planning Application and its revision are riddled with statements and statistics that vary between dubious, laughable and patently false.


However, since anecdotal evidence suggests a representative of Worcester Park Residents' Association will be presenting the objection and especially with so little time left, I suggest the best course of action would be best to present your evidence to them, for inclusion.

another guest of WP said...

My main worry is that enough people will even have been told about this meeting!! It would be good if so many people turned up they just had to take heed, rather than pass this quite frankly ridiculous, and riddled with "questions" submission. Are the residents people able to leaflet or put up notices on lamposts again about the meeting - maybe hand out leaflets outside waitrose on Saturday?

Guest of WP said...

Little Smiff, Be in no doubt, once a planning application is granted, NOBODY HAS ANY ABILITY TO APPEAL AGAINST IT, so it has to be stopped before it gets to that stage.

Should it be granted, Sutton Council's planners would no doubt make a great big song and dance about the restrictions they place on the approval, but ask them how they will enforce any such restrictions and you'll hear a very long silence!

As for the applicant, given that we're talking about those who have been denying they had any plans whatsoever for a mosque for the last 3 years, clearly they will similarly deny that more than 10-15 people are in current attendance, (before adding how upset, angry and victimised all 236 current attendees feel about such claims).

Meanwhile Sutton Council will do its very best to pursue the do nothing option.

Guest of WP said...

Andy, If there is already too much traffic here, how is adding to it going to help? Do at least try to think this through.

If you still think a mosque with hundreds of extra cars with no room on the roads and nowhere to park makes sense more, take a drive around Morden - this Friday would be ideal.

Residents there used to think they had traffic mayhem - but now they know what 'traffic mayhem' really means!

Having witnessed the true meaning of utter gridlock, illegally parked cars, cars parked across residents' driveways and the local police in attendance, attempting to disperse traffic (with great difficulty)...

... Then come back and tell us how embarrassed you feel about your above comment.

parkerilla said...

As I mentioned in a post a while back I can see this as being a "foot in the door" planning application, the purpose of this application is to gain approval for the change of use from office premises to place of religious worship.If successful they'll have established the change of use for the site and will then follow up in a few months time with a second application for a major redevelopment of the site into a much bigger, new , mosque etc.
Also, with regards to the comment about breaches of planning regulations/ permissions mentioned above, I know Kingston Council has a hotline email address where you can tip off the council about any planning abuses in your area, I expect Sutton Council has the same, so if they have permission for 25 people and you see 200 crammed in, or if you see them making building alterations outside of the planning permission given you can tip off the council.

Nichu said...

I've lived on Green Lane for four years and I've never seen traffic backed up to the Hamptons (worked from home for much of that so would have noticed queuing traffic outside). When the traffic's bad it goes as far as Lincoln Road, but generally not more than that. I agree that the traffic is terrible but making exaggerated statements about how bad it is does not lend credibility to the claim.

Bob said...

Absolute joke if this mosque goes ahead. Bad enough we now have Al Janet on the high street, completely unnecessary and ridiculous!

Dave said...

The Stone Place car park (aka Waitrose car park) is owned by London Borough of Sutton. Since every car has to have a machine-issued ticket there should be no need for a "survey", as much more statistically-valid and comprehensive data can be obtained by an analysis of the ticket-issuing. A trivial job for the LBS IT department. Presumably such analyses are performed anyway. Okay, it won't show when a vehicle leaves the car park, but will clearly confirm what we already know to be the times of greatest congestion. As others have said, the "survey" submitted with the Planning Application is worthless and misleading.
It isn't just a matter of parking capacity either. Any vehicle stopping to set down / pick up passengers on a main road (which has to include Green Lane as it has six busses an hour Monday to Saturday) delays other traffic and can cause a knock-on effect that rapidly causes tail-backs.

Dave said...

What's puzzling me is this statement :
"2.16 It is estimated that a maximum of 10/12 women and 128/130 men will use the building
at any one time."

see page 8 of
SPPTA201266050A01PL108112012ADDITIONAL PLANNING STATEMENT AND TRANSPORT STATEMENT.pdf

One could ask several questions about the disparity between estimated female and male attendance (presumably children are included in those numbers), but doubtless someone would fly the "racist" kite yet again.

What is self-evident is that the number of cars is likely to be substantially more than if equal numbers of women and men were expected to attend.

Perrosha said...

Just wondering if anyone has heard about the possibility of the Worcester Park Pub being used as a site for the Mosque or other instead? I can't find anything on the Kingston planning website. Many thanks.

Nikko said...

Dave, using data from the machines is a good idea, but would miss an important statistic; those cars that can't find parking spaces in Stone Place and leave to park elsewhere, as witnessed by Mrs Nikko (who was on foot and not adding to the chaos) last Friday lunchtime.

parkerilla said...

I think thats just a joke that was going around

Higher power said...

I already know the mosque is a no go.

Giles C said...

You have to realise that the Lib Dems are in a tricky position here....They heavily court and garner the ethnic minority vote especially that of the Muslims and Tamils. You only have to look at the farce of Wentworth hall in Carshalton to see that. They are can to be all things to all people here. The officers have been "ordered to recommend to refuse the application" whch means the Lib Dems can say to their Muslim friends " Nothing to do with us guv" whilst still keeping their votes. Simples...

Guest said...

The claim of last sentence isn't something to be uploaded to a public blog, unless you've got hard evidence to back it and it helps nobody - unless you are on the side of the applicant.

Guest said...

Unlikely, since a final decision is yet to be made.

Ivan from Brinkley said...

There are more than enough Mosque's in England Would a Church be allowed to be built in a Muslim country ? I think its a disgrace to even think about building a Mosque in Worcester Park

Ivan from Brinkley said...

Big brown envelopes to make things happen

Dave said...

The "Epsom Guardian" is widely distributed in Worcester Park, and yesterday (29th Nov) had two stories about Worcester Park.
AFAIK nothing has ever appeared in said paper about the proposed mosque.
I have invited the paper to send a reporter to cover the meeting, so we can expect at least some coverage in the issue of Thursday 6th December.

ConcernedCitizen said...

Agreed.


Sutton council approved the planning permission for the former Gleeson building in London Road which was supposed to be flats, a "college" and three business units. The building was not supposed to be occupied until the building work was completed under the terms of the application.


Anyone who has been past the building at night will know that there are lights left on in top floor rooms every night. It's clear to see that someone has been living there all along and yet the council have done nothing to prevent this breach of the planning permission grant.


Whatever restrictions may be placed upon this grant, they won't be enforced by anyone unless the council are embarrassed into it.

Sutton Guardian Reader said...

I cannot comment on the contents of the Epsom Guardian, but it is in Sutton's Guardian on page 8, under the title:

"Mosque opposition gathers pace before planning meeting"



It ends with: "The meeting will be held at Cheam High School, Cheam from 7:30pm on December 3 AND IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.


So whether you live in Epsom, Sutton or Kingston or have family, friends or business interests there, you are equally and cordially invited to the meeting.

teatime said...

The WPRA Chairman will be attending the meeting and speaking on our behalf.

s murphy said...

Racist bile on this facebook event page has been reported to the Met police. Words cannot express my disgust at the comments made by some Worcester Park residents. The Sutton Guardian has also been contacted.

NeilFrog said...

Agreed the racist comments are very disappointing and inappropriate. However, it is very clear that the feelings about the planning application for a mosque are felt strongly by many in Worcester park.

The application must not be accepted.

s murphy said...

I completely accept that people may not want the mosque, as long as this is based on reasonable grounds (such as traffic) rather than just pure racism.

NeilFrog said...

I believe there are reasons other than those that can be considered by the planning committee which are equally valid reasons for the strong feelings amoungst WP residents. Small points like there being no need for a mosque in Worcester Park, property devaluation etc. However these genuine concerns do not constitute racism despite what some might say.

Flawed Application said...

If you read the article in this week’s Surrey Comet part of the supporting Application for the Mosque is that it will ease traffic congestion to the Kingston Mosque by allowing the worshippers there to come to the one in Worcester Park. Presumably on one of the sixteen bikes that have allocated places. Surely another contradiction in this already flawed Application. The traffic study carried out on the 31st of August should have been done after the school holidays when a true picture of how much traffic congestion the residents of Worcester Park have to deal with on a daily basis.

Crusoe said...

Parkerilla, Maybe they chose Cheam High School because it is under Sutton Council whereas Green Lane Primary is in RB Kingston.

Heinrich said...

s murphy has reported opponents of the mosque to the police for racism, well we of the Worcester Park Nazi Party are shaking in our jackboots, bet the Met has stopped all leave to respond to that one!

s murphy said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law


Proven!

parkerilla said...

A fair point, I stand corrected.

JC of WP said...

Rumour has it that Worcester Park Tavern has also been purchased by a Muslim Group for £1.4M who are waiting to see the outcome of the bank chambers application in Worcester Park, just a stones throw away!! and this property has car parking!! Watch out for their application for place of worship around April/May 2013 but this will be to Kingston Council. Lets all show our support tonight at the Public Meeting to indicate the majority of residents views who wish for this proposal to be rejected.

Higher power said...

Told you!

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