Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Green Lane Mosque Rejected


Sutton's Development Control Committee this evening unanimously rejected the latest application to turn the Old Bank Chambers at 2-4 Green Lane into a Mosque. The meeting attended by approximately 180 people of which at least three quarters were vocally against the proposal, applauded and cheered loudly when the decision was made.

The rejection comes after fierce opposition to the proposal, with literally thousands of local residents objecting to what they claim will be unacceptable traffic and disruption from the development in the former Bank Chambers premises next to the 'Kingfish' fish and chip shop on the corner of Green Lane and Central Road.

The was loud applause for Arthur Hookway, Chair of the Worcester Park Residents Association, before, after and several times during his speech on the problems this proposal would cause and the "laughable" claim that no one would drive to the Mosque. Councillor Stuart Gordon-Bullock also spoke against the proposal and received his greatest applause when he noted that the premises would be far better suited to a firm of accountants or architects which would also bring  employment to the area. Councillor Stephen Fenwick also spoke against the proposal.

Once again the applicant did not speak but two professionals spoke on his behalf to say that in their expert opinion, no one would use their cars to visit the Mosque.

The best comment of the night was from Councillor Tony Shields, sitting on the Development Control Committee when he told one of these people:
"I've been a councillor for quite a while and I've heard a lot of tosh in these meetings but you are way out in front". 
Councillor Shields made several strong points while Liberal Democrat Councillor Mary Burstow also made some excellent points as did the only other Conservative councillor on the committee, Peter Geiringer. Councillors Monica Coleman and John Leach, who was Chairing the committee, made a couple of useful comments but none of the other councillors on the committee spoke.

Undoubdedly this will also go to appeal like the other one but I would take this opportunity to ask the applicant to really consider if continuous applications and appeals is really the best way forward with this. This is clearly the wrong building for a place of assembly and surely it would be much better for your objective, your wallet and community relations to look at selling this building and buying one much better suited to public assembly. You would not then have to jump through hoops making it a 'Green Mosque' and pretending no one will use their cars even when it's wet and cold and trying to limit the number of people who can attend. If you purchase the right building in the right place then surely that would make everyone's job a lot easier and make for much better community relations. - Just a thought.