Tuesday, 1 October 2013

New Islamic Centre Planned For Old Worcester Park Tavern

Many residents in the vicinity on the old Worcester Park Tavern have this morning received a letter inviting them to a public consultation about proposals to convert the Tavern to a Community Centre for the South West London Ismaili Community.

Ismailism is a branch of Shia Islam led by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. This is a completely different branch of Islam to the group which wanted to convert the old Bank Chambers in Green Lane to a Mosque. They were representing the 'Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama'at' branch.

Readers will remember that the Tavern was bought by Shahrastani Development Limited, run by Shiraz Bhogani and Nameem Bhogani, last year from the Spirit Pub Company. At the time Shiraz Bhogani, said they were ‘land banking’ and were looking at all the options and so couldn’t say for definite what it would be but added, “But we do specialise in hotels”. A little internet research suggested that they did indeed have a history of Hotel development and had several hotel based concerns including Sojourn Hotels.

The land is now owned by the Southwest London Ismaili Community. Whether or not Shahrastani Development sold it to them or actually bought it on their behalf, I don't yet know.

The current proposal for the centre does not include a Mosque and is looking to retain the character of the building, making very few changes to its external appearance. They are looking to hold meditational practices and readings once a day (in the evening between 7.30pm and 8.30pm on weekdays and from 6.30pm to 7.30pm at weekends). They claim this will generate less traffic, particularly during the evening rush hour, than did the public house before.

They are looking at 40-50 people attending each day (there is parking for 54 cars) with a maximum of 120 attending for special occasions such as festivals etc.

Everyone is invited to the public consultation which will take place at St Mary’s Church in The Avenue, Worcester Park, KT4 7HL on Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th of October. The Friday session is in the evening from 7:30pm until 9:30pm; Saturday’s is during the day from 10:00am until 4:30pm. I have no doubt many Worcester Parkers will be there.


A warm welcome to all the Russian blog readers for whom this page seems particularly interesting. Hoping you are enjoying the blog...

155 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

mabel said...

Just to say we are immediately in the vicinity of the Worcester Park Tavern and have not had any letter. Also hopefully this will be refused as the parking in our road is already at full capacity and with not enough parking at the Worcester we can see we will have more parking (if that is possible) at weekends also. If it was to be used for the benefit of all Worcester Parkers it might be more acceptable.

Margaret Hall said...

Islamic centre aka mosque!

mabel said...

exactly Margaret

Kath said...

I live in the vicinity and have had NO letter. I agree Islamic centre aka mosque.

Simon said...

Is there a big Islamic community in Worcester Park that I don't know about? Why all these planning applications for mosques all of a sudden?
It would be a shame if this building were to become a site for a religious minority, whereas before it was used by the local community.

BAZZA said...

I also live within the vicinity and have not received any letters re this proposal. I have contacted many of my neighbours who also have not received any notification. We will be contacting the consultation department re this and suggest that they reschedule the meeting for next week. In the meantime they could let us know what areas they have sent leaflets to. It seems to me they would like this application to go through smoothly without too much publicity. Now where has this happened before.....

Axl Wifey said...

We are just off the Avenue and received our letter this morning. It wasn't clear what it was as it only had our postal address on the envelope so could easily be mistaken for junk mail.

Craig said...

Once again we are being told that it won't effect traffic as there will be less cars then when used as a pub. I've lived in worcester park for 18 years and never seen that many cars in the pub. Planners need to reject as they did the green lane site

Craig said...

How many locals will use ?? Not many looking at the amount of cars expected !!

Jamjars said...

I saw community centre. Yeah great. Saw use by members hmmm second thoughts. Saw being put foreword by the Islamic community well that's about 95% of Worcester park unable to use the site. Seriously when will they get the hint that we are a community already and do not want an invasion of another community that will ostracise non members from it. It will turn into another morden/tooting that are seriously run down and not nice places to live in.

Mac said...

Worcester Park residents must stick together and deny this attrocious attack on what we as residents want as a majority not because of religeon but because of the sheer utter arrogance of a minority trying to impose something the householders of Worcester Park do not under any circumstances want in this area ...I am stunned ...but dreadfully and very unfortunately not surprised that this minority are being given a hearing ...live within the community, be part of the community, but do not impose your particular beliefs and requirements...this is our community and you can be part of it...if you want.

guest D said...

I feel sorry for this group they are being tarred with the same brush that Mr Aziz fully loaded.

At least go to their meeting, listen to their proposals before you condemn them. They are being far more open than Mr Aziz's group ever was.

For example ask them whether it will be a closed community centre or one open to all faiths, before assuming that.

Their leader the Aga Khan, is not exactly an odd character, but a wealthy British businessman famed for his racehorses and part of the British Aristocracy via his maternal grandfather the 3rd Baron Churston.

So open your minds and listen before making a judgement.

Meditations & Readings? said...

A. "The current proposal for the centre does not include a Mosque"
B. "They are looking to hold meditational practices and readings"

According to your wide open mind, do tell us which statement you think to be true and which would be false?

guest D said...

They are not mutually exclusive, so one doesn't have to be true and the other false.

Which of these applies to you

A: "I am prejudging this group, that makes me prejudiced"
B. "I am willing to listen to their proposals, that means I have an open mind."

Andrew said...

I really do feel that this is prime property in Worcester Park, it's got to be one of the biggest and most useful buildings in the direct area - to see it used for such a specific thing which serves only a small number of the local community wouldn't be right in my opinion.

Other than the traffic issues, I didn't have a problem with the bank chambers to be honest, it was a small building, tucked away, which had stood derelict for decades after being offices.

The Worcester Park premises were used by the whole community in recent memory, and the use should remain as such, be it a local community centre for all, a pub again, restaurant, a market place maybe - I don't know, but to turn it into a centre which will be used by a small minority of people is all wrong.

Nothing to do with religion, I'd say the same if the proposal was that it be turned into some freemason lodge, or trade union meeting place, or Jewish community centre, or even a christian centre to be honest, because I'm not religious and therefore would feel excluded as would many others I'm sure.

But I guess the moral of the story is, if we don't support our local business and establishments, then they close down and are sold to the highest bidder to basically do what they please with them. Unless anyone has the money or the inclination to buy the building back off of the current owners, are we really in a position to dictate what they can and cannot do with their own property?

Chris said...

No plans for a mosque YET!!!!!!! I wonder if they were to get planning permission for a community centre how long before it would be converted to a MOSQUE? it just seems that it has been noted by them that WP residents DONT want a mosque and maybe this is a way in the back door.

NotMrniceguy said...

They seem determined to begin the Islamification of Worcester Park

Guest said...

Finally people have to finally admit they are against anything Islamic building being establised in WP.

Despite it being a prime location in WP and a large building which could be turned into anything, the fact of the matter is NO ONE cared about it when it was a pub because quite frankly, it was an awful one. No one liked it much, not many people went, and it closed. Now that someone has it and wants to turn it into something that WILL be used its being opposed because of the plans for what it will become. Are you lot adults or children?! - "I dont want the toy but as soon as someone else starts playing with it, I want it back! WAAAAAAAH!"


The WP Tavern has a large car park so people are unable to go down the 'traffic will be awful' route as a reason why they oppose it. The times for the meetings proposed are times when there is little or no traffic on the roads around it, and having a car park will mean there will likely be no change at all.

Now people finally have to admit that they do not like it just because it is associated with Islam. If you deny this, read up on Planning Regulations and tell me what VALID PLANNING REASON you have chosen to oppose this?

Unfortunately, 'I dont like that very much' isnt a valid reason for a planning application to be rejected. If the owners can show it will be able to convert the pub without detrimental effect to traffic etc, it will likely go ahead.

If people recieved a letter about it becoming a church, there would be no objections at all. Lots of people will deny it though. Some absolutely ignorant people obviously live in WP - not all Muslims are terrorists you know!

And for the record, I am strongly opposed to ANY religion doing ANYTHING, ANYWHERE! Hate them all.

Guest said...

"the moral of the story is, if we don't support our local business and
establishments, then they close down and are sold to the highest bidder
to basically do what they please with them. Unless anyone has the money
or the inclination to buy the building back off of the current owners,
are we really in a position to dictate what they can and cannot do with
their own property?"

Spot on.

Meditations & Readings? said...

First, try fitting a brain inside that wide open mind of yours. Then try educating yourself via the internet links shown on the introductory presentation of proposal. start with the website "the Ismaili":

FROM: The Ismaili : About the Ismaili Centres: Quote, “For many centuries, a prominent feature of the Muslim religious landscape".
I wonder if can possibly suggest the kind of "meditational practices and readings" that would be held within a building that is "a prominent feature of the Muslim religious landscape".

guest D said...


You are clearly a Born Again Atheist stooge sent by Sutton ^H^H^H^H^H^H Kingston Council.

As you say I can't see any reason for Kingston to turn it down on planning grounds.

Unanimous Approval said...

Yep, I agree, there's no reason why Kingston Council shouldn't just agree it (without asking questions, obviously). And if there are any good reasons, they should exercise their powers to ensure they remain hidden.

Just look at Morden! There, locals ran around like lunatics with visions of car parking chaos and gridlocked streets. Of course, Merton Council were intelligent enough to see that those protesting were just a bunch of racists, who should be ignored and rightly approved the application (yes, and the subsequent extensions).

Kingston Council need to be reassured: There never have been any parking or traffic related problems that can be attributed to Morden's Baitul Futuh Mosque, which has a large car park: Anyone who says different is a racist (obviously).

Nichu said...

I'm going to go along to the event to find out more. It seems a lot more professional, open and better organised than the proposed Green Lane mosque so I'm more confident that any concerns will be taken on board.

I must admit, I am a little bit disappointed that it won't be redeveloped into a nice cosy pub with good beers on tap, a roaring log fire and decent, non pretentious food. But then again, it's difficult to make pubs profitable these days as people tend to either drink at home or go out into Wimbledon, Kingston or London.

I'm firmly of the belief that it's better to discuss people's concerns openly and trying to understand others' points of view, before claiming points are racist or xenophobic. Surely it's human nature to be suspicious of groups that seem different to one's own. I think people get anxious about this sort of change as it represents a nail in the coffin of how people like to see Worcester Park, and indeed Britain (red telephone boxes, country pubs and queuing at post offices etc.)

As for traffic, it's difficult to think of something that would require a building of such size not generating extra vehicles.

BAZZA said...

Re Guest comments. I like many of the of the W/P community will be at the consultation next week, and I like many will telling the people behind this idea why it is not wanted/needed in OUR community. If you do not like the community you live in move to somewhere more suitable.

Not big enough for both of us said...

Besides, there isn't room for two local monarchs. His Highness Prince Aziz (aka Aziz the Invisible) of Green Lane Mosque is already 'the Daddy' of Worcester Park wing. [Well, I say 'Mosque', but let's be clear, I'm not suggesting that there is, or ever has been, any unofficial/unauthorised use of Bank Chambers].

Karina said...

I'm so relieved that there's at least one other person in WP who isn't a massive bigot. Seriously, the amount of barely concealed racism in this comment section is astonishing. Why on earth would it matter if there's an Islamic centre on that site? It has a big car park, it would be used at a time when there isn't much traffic on the road, so you can't use that as an excuse. The only reason most of these people are objecting is because they don't want more people of colour in Worcester Park. It's disgusting that people still think like this in 2013. Put down the Daily Mail and start learning to be a little more accepting.

Parkerilla said...

If only 40 or 50 people will be using it each day then presumably there will probably be only about 10 or 12 people there at any one time during the course of the day. A very large building for so few people using it, even just the ground floor, let alone all the rooms on the upper floor.

Location Location Location said...

"The site has been chosen for a number of reasons:
- Many Ismaili families live in Kingston, Surbiton, Wimbledon and Worcester Park.
- The venue is well served by public transport links, which many members use.
- There is good on-site parking (54 spaces) which is sufficient for peak usage."

It would seem that the chosen site is far from central to the needs of visitors, but on the extreme southern edge of the catchment area - hardly the logical choice.
Surely somewhere geographically central to Kingston, Surbiton, Wimbledon and Worcester Park would be the logical choice? ... i.e. NEW MALDEN.
Surely somewhere with direct rail and bus links to Kingston, Surbiton and Wimbledon would be better? ... How about NEW MALDEN?

Surely somewhere close enough to be within walking distance for the greatest number of visitors would be better than them driving there? Logic suggests NEW MALDEN.

Logic would suggest the proposed location is badly suited and a location several miles north would be the obvious place. [Or is the map on Google racist???]

Abena said...

We received the letter and it seems quite straightforward. We will be going to the consultation to understand more about the Ismaili community and their plans for the building but at the end of the day if this building is being put to good use rather than sitting there empty and attracting squatters why should we object?

I think we are all a bit too quick to judge sometimes and perhaps we need to be a bit more open-minded and give everyone a fair chance.

guest D said...

Try reading what Guest has written,

Unfortunately for you planning laws apply, so in the case of a change of use from A4 to D2, all they need to show is that the change of use does not contradict the borough's plans, that the building is suitable for the purpose, and it won't impose unreasonable demands on the area over and above its previous use.

As it was a large Pub it must have been licensed to hold over 200 people, so their usage is going to be much lower. As a Pub it would have been open during unsocial hours causing noise nuisance, this application doesn't do that.

The distance that people have to travel to get to it doesn't come into it.

They could even apply for A4 to D1 with no problems.

Location Location Location said...

If it's not considered too racist, I'd actually like to try reading the actual planning application, rather than what appears to be an interpretation of it, without actually seeing it.
Yes, I know it's an unfashionable idea, though I recall there was a rather angry body of opinion similarly claiming the Green Lane planning application was a foregone conclusion.

They later were proven to be wrong.

hrtless said...

Some of the comments below are hilarious:

@Mac ...live within the community, be part of the community, but do not impose your particular beliefs and requirements...this is our community and you can be part of it...if you want


@Jamjars ...Seriously when will they get the hint that we are a community already and do not want an invasion of another community

Please enlighten me as to what this 'Community' is that you are referring to. I would hate not to be served in a shop, or sit on the wrong part of a bus due to my ignorance of not knowing how to be a part of your 'Community'.

@Mac, I believe your vision of a community, is more akin to a Dictatorship. If this is the case, I have many skills and talents and would appeal to your good nature in order to be a part of your hierarchy. jamjars, your understanding of this 'Community' appears to be more historically based, almost like when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. I hope that this doesn't case offence due you being Polish, German or even a Nazi.

But I digress, good luck with lodging your appeals for application based on this 'Our Community' tactic.

Guest A said...

Please direct me to the evidence that they have in your words 'ignored planning law'.

I am the same 'guest' as the original one who responded to you above for the record.

You clearly have NO idea how the planning process works. The Green Lane had numerous VALID objections to it. The parking was one which was correct and it was right to reject that proposal as it would have been chaos. The same cannot be applied to this scheme however.

As Guest D above has correctly noted, unless something significant is wrong with their application, an A4-D2 application will probably go through no problem. As they also correctly stated, the capacity of the pub was most likely rated as MUCH higher than the proposals so surely this can only be a benefit to those living in the immediate area as there will be considerably less noise and quantities of people - the fact that they would have previously been intoxicated when now they will not is an added bonus.

So tell me Location Location Location, what is the specific LEGITIMATE objection you have which can be investigated under planning legislation? The planners will of course look at it if you do.

If you have none, why the proposals to move it to New Malden? Saying 'its more central' is not a valid reason. No one owns a building in New Malden (probably) that wants to do this and people cant just pick up and move the buildings they already own.

May your argument be nothing more than than another ignorant, stupid person from WP generally does not like the idea? Id say so.

Im happy to be proved wrong however. Im all ears.

Dave said...

There's some neat PR going on here :
1) Avoid appearing secretive, unlike Mr.Aziz.
2) Hold the 'consultation' (whatever that means) in a church, to show engagement
with the 'community' - but ignore the fact that many, if not most, of us rarely set foot in a church.
3) Hold the Saturday 'consultation' over 6 hours, ostensibly to allow anyone to attend -
but reduce the risk of being overwhelmed by objectors.
4) Hint that they don't intend use as a mosque, but make no commitment.
5) Emphasise that the exterior of the building will have minimal changes. We shall see.
6) Refer to the voluntary work to be performed "with the aim of improving the quality of life of those amongst whom they live" - do they mean us?

That said, IF they abide by what they are saying, I can see no objection to their
proposed use. Unfortunately we have been so thoroughly deceived by Mr.Aziz that caution is understandable.

If they really want to show good will to our 'community', a legally-binding commitment not to seek conversion to a mosque within, say, the next 15 years would go a long way to easing concerns. Not likely to happen though.

And a thought - if anyone wanted to open an "English Community Centre", admitting only English membership, would that be legal?

Andrew said...

I know right....I'll bring the flaming torches, you bring the rope!

GUEST B said...

Some points that need raising at next weeks consultation;
1) 40-50 each day will be attending a building that as a pub could hold at least 200 people(and that's only the ground floor). Will the owners put this in the application re the maximum amount of people allowed at any one time.
2) A proposed youth club open every evening including weekends, once again what would be the maximum capacity. Also will the youth club be open to the whole community and what time would this be open to bearing in mind this is a residential area.
3) A day care centre for the elderly? It states on the proposal that this would be for members only. What defines a "member", I presume they mean a member of the community.
Looking forward to the consultation.

Location Location Location said...

I'm sure you would hate to be seen as 'another ignorant, stupid person from WP generally loves the idea', which is what someone would be, if claimed to know the contents of the application, without actually having seen it.

So perhaps you can start by informing us where we can see this application in the public domain? [That you seem to know so well].

And of course to know that the outcome of the application, you must know that Kingston Council heartily approved it. So perhaps you can show us all the evidence to confirm the Council has approved it?

But of course, nobody would be ignorant and stupid enough to claim they knew the outcome of this application without knowing the contents and without knowing the local council had granted it? ...Would they?

By the way, those people coming from Surbiton by public transport, care to suggest a direct bus or direct train route they can utilise?

guest D said...

As you probably already know they haven't yet submitted any application, I assume that they will do so after the consulation after having taken into account what they hear at the consulation.

Guest A and myself are using the information in their pamphlet which indicates their intentions and on that basis we can't see any reason for Kingston to turn it down.

However, if the application when submitted says they intend to have a 1000 person Mosque, then there would be justifiable grounds to complain.

But until then keep an open mind.

Guest 123 said...

Isn't it interesting how so many "enlightened" people have decided that anyone who is opposed to this application is automatically a racist or anti-Islamic?
Personally I would rather see the site used for a purpose that is not associated with any religion.
A "community centre" can only be that if it welcomes everyone in the community, not just those from one religion. Given the references to "members" in the application, I suspect that the site will not be open to "non-members".

gary said...

Re; Notablogger comments, two wrongs do not make a right. Nuff said

Ms Disappointed said...

Dave, good point about them trying to avoid mass objectors. How about 2pm on Saturday, as many of us as possible?

kando said...

When does the petition start? Want a s/w London community centre? THEN TRY S/W LONDON! Not wanted here, see you all at the consultation. Also live very close to the WP Tavern and received no letter. Tried contacting the planners no reply.

KANDO said...

2pm Sat sounds good. Will start spreading the word.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Well said, Abena.

Gordo's Neighbour said...

When attending the consultation, please bear in mind that you do not speak on behalf of the entire WP community, kando. Narrowmindedness, intolerance, disrespect and bullying are also not wanted here.

Doris said...

I am struggling to believe that a building the size of the Worcester park tavern is to be a community centre for 40/50 people. It is a huge building and would either leave a vast amount of space wasted or they have grander plans for the future? Why is there so much interest in Worcester park at the moment? Before moving to this area I lived in Morden, and had been happy there for a long time. The arrival of the mosque seen property prices tumble, national front marches, BNP leaflets through the door and then traffic chaos on a Friday. It was all very unpleasant. The interesting part of that experience was, the vast majority of residents did not want the mosque and now they have the biggest mosque in Europe. I love living in Worcester park and I hope that Kingston council will be stronger than merton council was and any agreements they make are stringent in what the building can be used for.

qwerty said...

Pt. 2: Of course, 'consultation' is in itself simply part of the PR exercise towards the desired objective. It's a grubby little tool, designed to simply mask the reality of having ignored everyone, by claiming to have consulted widely and taken on board opinions... that were, actually, completely ignored! Clever!
I find most councils are rather good at 'consultation'!

kando said...

Re Gordo. No I do not speak for the entire w/p community.But you may find that 95% agree with me. Look at the green lane mosque application if you do not believe me.Or better still go to the consultation and see for yourself. As for your petty insults EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion its called democracy.

guest b said...

Re gordo; The only narrowminded person speaking seems to be you.See you at the consultation 2pm sat.

klingsor said...

Could be worse. They might have been proposing an Irish Centre... :-)

Hrtless said...

And surely in this democracy, people are able to use their own property in the way they see fit, as long as this follows the laws governing it?

I hope that whatever the outcome, you will be the first person upholding this democratic right, should the consultation not go your way?

Dave B said...

Will they have sky sports and a few screens so we can watch footie on a saturday and sunday.

Sally said...

Surely nobody can be naïve enough to think that 'consultation' is guaranteed to go anyone's way except those undertaking the consultation?
Otherwise what would be the point of them undertaking it?

If they genuinely needed or wanted the community's approval BEFORE pursuing their agenda, don't you think they would have undertaken a consultation exercise BEFORE they bought the building?

gary said...

Nicely put, could you pass you thoughts on to Mr Aziz. Oh I forgot, I suppose he has the democratic right to appeal and appeal and appeal.............

joan f said...

Do you REALLY understand what democracy stands for? I think not somehow.

Liz said...

If they just need space for 50 people to meditate why not use a church hall? Religion is religion is religion....... We need to keep our community space - at least the hotel would have a restaurant and bar for all ......Or what about restaurant and bar on ground floor and flats above as there is such a shortage of living space in the area.... I'll see you all at 2pm. I don't do facebook so can someone who does spread the word there too?

T said...

I thought I'd do some quick calculations to bring some facts to this debate to try and address the comments from people claiming ownership of the community! From the 2011 census data I have roughly calculated there are approx 19,500 people of Islamic faith within the Epsom & Ewell, Sutton and Kingston Up Thames areas. Muslims are already part of the community so have a right to create a space for their faith - I for one don't want to be part of a community where the majority ignorantly point fingers and tell the minority what they can and can't do in 'their' community.

The fact that parking can no longer be claimed as an issue with this site has just shown up the original objections for what they were.

Kando - Can you cite a source for you 95% figure please? Thanks.

Data Source: http://localstats.qpzm.co.uk/stats/england/

T said...

What community space? The building is currently standing empty.

We should be pleased that someone wants to use this building for a real community space offering services to the elderly, youth and children - how exactly does a restaurant/bar do that?

T said...

Please stop shouting. Please cite your source of evidence for how you know what the majority think?

T said...

Yep - like you do also!

Andrew said...

There appears to be at present, out of the comments expressing views either way:-

Do not want due to change to religious venue : 5
Do not want due to parking/traffic issues : 3
Do not want due to it being associated with Islam : 13
Are happy for the change to take place : 5

So that's 31% of people having genuine concerns, 19% of people being tolerant to the owner's proposal, and 50% not wanting it because 'we don't want Muslims in the area'.

guest D said...

Actually you are both incorrect here, the proposer can appeal once and once only, if that appeal is rejected the only recourse is to go to law (High Courts).

If on appeal a planning application is rejected, the planning authority can turn any further applications of the same nature down without giving reason.

Those opposed have no right of appeal.

T said...

Very revealing, thanks Andrew

Gordo's Neighbour said...

Democracy does not mean the unfettered right to hold and exercise any opinion - racism, sexism and bigotry are just examples of opinions which are not acceptable. Likewise, a lynch-mob or a bullying horde are democratic in the Athenian sense, but they are not acceptable expressions of the democracy we live in now. Indeed, by today's standards, the quality of a democracy is measured by how it treats its minorities.

I was one of those who objected to the first application for the Green Lane mosque - the rationalisation I afforded myself was the traffic issue. It was only on the eve of the second application that I researched the applications in a little more detail and realised that the applicant had always maintained that the catchment area was small (2km) and that the small mosque could really have been meant to serve the small number of Muslims working in the WP area for their Friday lunchtime prayers (this is their equivalent of Sunday Mass). The applicants did not speak out in the various hearings and I wonder if it's because they were intimidated by the mob present? Certainly, from the reports I've heard of the first hearing, I'd have had second thoughts about standing up to speak in support of the application.

I just want to see this new application be given a fair hearing - and not shouted down.

For what it's worth, I've looked up the Ismaili's on the web and it appears that they are a branch of Shia Islam close to Sufism, which I believe, is far distant from the extremist Wahabi's (who are Sunnis) we have been made to fear since 9/11. Not that it should matter.

Andrew said...

Although reading the posts on the Facebook page put the above statistics to shame!!

Hrtless said...

I find it amusing that you actually believe you know what my point of view is, and therefore believe that I am in the minority.

I couldn't care either way what happens with the building. From all accounts the Tavern was a chavy pub in the first place and in it's current derelict state it's a bit of an eyesore.

If I do go to this meeting, I'm sure I'll be able to spot you straight away......You'll probably have a megaphone and a placard, with the message all in upper case!

You've got to love democracy, it gives both you and me an equal vote when it comes to these types of things........God help us all!

guest D said...

I am also one how objected to the first application and though I can see the need to service the Muslims who are part of our community, I still feel that though building is appropriate, its location is unsuitable for mass assembly.

Mr Aziz still has his appeal to be heard and his chances of winning are going up. As I see it his only valid grounds for appeal are that it was political, based on Islamophobia.

People on this blog and on its facebook page are providing him with plenty of evidence as to that.

To those people I would say supporting this application would be the best way of preventing Mr Aziz's appeal being granted.

Hrtless said...

de·moc·ra·cy [dih-mok-ruh-see]
noun, plural de·moc·ra·cies.

government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the peopleand exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.
a state having such a form of government: The United States and Canada are democracies.
a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.
political or social equality; democratic spirit.
the common people of a community as distinguished from any privileged class; the common peoplewith respect to their political power.

@joan f here's the answer to your question. You are very welcome

Hrtless said...

Hypothetically, when you buy a house and wish to add an extension, surely you purchase the property prior to putting in your planning application?

So why would you not do exactly the same in this scenario?

I'm not for or against anyone using the building. What I fail to understand is, if the owners of this property wish to use the building in the way they see fit, follow all the rules and regulations surrounding this, then what is the issue?

The public consultation appears to be an 'olive branch' on their part. Regardless of what becomes of the building, if all the laws governing it's usage are met, then I have no issue with this.

A pedant said...

I know, lets all argue among ourselves over who is right or who is using the correct terms. Grow up people. If its going to be used, great. Better than looking dilapidated and full of squatters and as for the capture area, its not us who will be doing the travelling is it so it doesnt matter if its 1 mile or 100 miles. As long as they dont exceed their permissions thats down to those who want to travel isnt it!

Hrtless said...

I think I've got a way to resolve this issue!

Clearly, no one on this thread is Xenophobic or Anti-Islamic, (this is not meant to be read in a sarcastic tone). From having read many of the comments below, the question of Democracy and other important subjects are being raised.

The solution is thus:

Call it a Members Only Club! It's such a simple and elegant solution and should alleviate any 'It should be used for the WHOLE community' issues that some people clearly have.

Surely by making it members only, what happens (legally) behind closed doors shouldn't matter? I hope that all the people that have raised the issue of community inclusion agree with me.....otherwise, what else would be the reason for you objecting to it's use?

David said...

I work in Central Road and was not aware that travellers were using the site, so I cannot imagine the proposed use having a more adverse effect on the surrounding area.

guest said...

residents who live nearest to the Worcester have in the past had to put up with noise and

antisocial behaviour late at night when the Doris Vennor was a youth club. Also when it was a night club there was disturbances. Also the adjacent roads are full of non resident parking already .There will not be enough parking in the Worcester especially on celebration days so again the adjacent residents will suffer. Noise of banging of car doors and people talking will again disturb the residents. We have evidence of noise from a house which uses its premises as a religious meeting place now, disturbing residents in the early hours. The Worcester is in a residential area and as we pay the highest council tax, we should have some say in what it is used for. If people do not live adjacent the Worcester then of course they will have no objection. We live in a village environment and this will attract people coming from lots of other boroughs and we will lose this village atmosphere .The building in Manor Park in Old Malden is already used as a religious meeting place and the Car Park there is so full on a Friday we hear that people on the gate are stopping any more cars going in.This park is meant for all residents. This application should not proceed for the sake of local residents.

PJ said...

I was disappointed when the WP pub closed but it clearly wasn't making money and no one wanted to take it on as a going concern. The Huntsman has had yet another facelift as it attempts (once again) to become the pub close to the station that is welcoming to all (although by all accounts the issue there isn't the decor...)

I can't see there being much need for a Hotel in WP either; people don't travel here to do business from afar/abroad and anyone coming in is only 30 mins from central london anyway so it wouldn't make any business sense to anyone to try and run a hotel from that site.

That doesn't leave a lot of other options for the poor old Worcester Park pub. The current squatters don't appear to be causing any trouble which is a plus but it obviously can't remain in that state forever.

I'd like to see the building be put to a positive use, the outside appearance and space treated sympathetically and ultimately it fulfill a worthwhile function, rather than just be left to rot.

Any proposal deserves a fair hearing and the site owners should be encouraged to ensure that whatever they do, the final outcome generates an overall improvement to the area and does not cause any negative impact for the local residents. If this can be assured, it shouldn't matter what the building is used for, or by whom.

Gridlock said...

So according to some on this blog ”The Parking Issue has
gone away” in relation to the setting up of another Islamic Centre in Worcester
Park. Where has it gone please can anyone tell me?

The Ismaili Group’s contention that there are 54 places “sufficient
for peak usage” is pretty scary

The former owners of the Pub (the Spirit group) would have
killed for 54 car peak usage. Having lived here 20 years plus I can tell you
that The Worcester Park Tavern had a peak usage of about 5 cars if they were
lucky. The only time I saw their car park full was when the former Cagney’s
Night Club on the site was open. That closed over 10 years ago. So the Worcester
Park Tavern in recent years never caused traffic and parking problem for local
residents. This was particularly the case in its declining years.

If the Ismaili Group is successful (as I’m sure they want to
be) in fully utilising their purchase of
this property, what will happen if there is any overspill, or some of their
members simply cannot be faffed to park in the car park. Well let me tell you
these cars will end up down The Manor Drive, The Avenue, Park Terrace and in
the parking bays of Briarwood Court and Orchard Court.

Lets face it Worcester Park is already pretty much at
capacity traffic and parking wise. To those of you who think this is funny or nonsense
I would invite you to spend some time during a weekday in the chicane that The
Manor Drive has become. Laugh as you watch the S3 Bus struggle to make any
headway down the street. Split you sides at Rush Hour as frustrated motorists close
to breaking point honk their horns and shake fists and swear at each other as
their cars go head to head in a desperate attempt to make headway weaving in
and out of the parked cars. Fights have almost broken out in several occasions.
All of this provides huge amounts audio joy to local residents.

Residents of The Manor Drive are hit by a triple whammy: (1)
the usual large collection of cars left by people as they leave their cars all
day to get to Worcester Park Train Station (2) The Doris Venner Pre-School\Community
Centre which is very popular (3) That Manor Drive Health Centre and Multi GP Practice
which is busy all day.

We get some respite at weekends, when visiting family and
friends stand an improved chance of parking within a quarter mile of our properties.
This little oasis of calm is threatened by this “Islamic Centre” operating a
full 7 days per week.

Ok so lets do a little Cost Benefit Analysis of this development.
Costs to local residents: A potential increase
in parking misery from 5 to 7 days per week, negative impact on Property
Prices. Benefits: err well?? Still trying to think of one? Still never mind eh The
Ismaili Group will get a nice closed centre for “their” community.

Commentator said...

The borough of Kingston rejected a plan for a community centre from the same group last year:


The link below is to the office building that was included in the proposal:


The building has 40 car parking spaces.
We need to concentrate on parking and the gridlock traffic issues already identified as a major problem in Worcester Park.

It would also appear that the application was for 200 people starting at 7am (although originally for 300 people with a 3.30am start!) which makes you wonder why the Worcester Park Tavern is only for 40-50 people does it not?


I don't believe it! said...

"To those people I would say supporting this application would be the best way of preventing Mr Aziz's appeal being granted."
That must be the dumbest thing anyone's written on this subject! How is supporting one group going to disadvantage another that it unrelated, but want the same thing? Supporting this will only encourage Mr. Aziz & co - OBVIOUSLY!

Gridlock said...

PS: I don’t know how they can claim their development “will
generate less traffic” how do they know what the traffic levels we’re like
outside the Worcester Park Tavern over the years? I very much doubt they we’re
there to witness it!? But maybe they we’re in there having a cheeky pint?

I was never aware that the Worcester Park Tavern used to
generate high levels of traffic at rush hour ? how would they do this with
their 5 patrons most of whom had just stepped off the train on their way home
from work.

This is just classic spin on the part of the Ismaili grouping, further
disinformation like the “Hotel” rumour.

Karina said...

Jesus Christ, if you want complete silence from your surrounding area with no noise from neighbours or passing traffic, I suggest you should be the one to move to somewhere quieter. You're within commuting distance of the busiest city in England, why on earth are you expecting it to be quiet? And 'village environment'? Are we talking about the same area?

You lucky people! said...

Democracy: "Government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system."

... So what about us having a democratic vote/referendum on whether we (the people of Worcester Park) want this proposed "space for meditation and spiritual practices"? - Or not!

Howard said...

All this makes me wonder what the future holds for "The Manor" pub next to Malden Manor station. This is an area which can do without more problems.

Andrew said...

Because it is a private enterprise! Did you want/expect a vote when the camping shop became Sainsburys, or when the M&S became a Poundland, or when the shop before Costas became a Costas, or when the off licence became Avventura/greek restaurant, or Choices became a pizza place/cycling shop.

Do you really honestly expect to have a say in every single minute change in the country? Or just ones involving the Muslim community?

You lucky people! said...

Andrew, what planet are you on?
Do you think Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Poundland etc just turned up one day, opened the store, and when Sutton Council asked what was going on, said "Right, we're moving in and taking over. And if you or anyone else doesn't like it, tough! We'll operate how we like, when we like, and make deliveries whenever we like!" Shove your planning laws!

The whole point of why we have a planning process is that it grants all of us an equal opportunity to have a say in what goes on in our own community and prevent or minimise the quality of life for the many being eroded for the sake of a selfish few. It's part of what makes our democracy so attractive.

The Muslim community are constrained by exactly the same planning regulations and democratic process as everyone else - and the same equal opportunity to challenge anybody else's application. I'm interested (but I have to say, not surprised, after reading your uneducated drivel) to hear that you think Muslim community should be above those laws.

You lucky people! said...

Can Andrew tell us what the percentage is of 6 letters of support for Mr. Aziz out of 660 letters against his plans?

If that's too difficult, perhaps he can tell us, as a percentage, the success rate of the mosque planning applications in Worcester Park?

Andrew said...

Agreed, and if a group of people spoke out against Capitalism to base their objections on regarding the changes above, they wouldn't be upheld.

Likewise the 'we don't want a mosque/Islamic invasion' brigade shouldn't have their objections upheld.

And to be fair, that is the majority of the arguments against.

It was a pub, so late night disturbances can't be a serious objection to the change!!

You lucky people! said...

Andrew, the planning applications were rejected not because of politics, religion or race, but because the applications themselves were (to quote one Councillor) "Tosh!".

if you had actually been at the council meetings, you would know that. Obviously you weren't, so you are writing from a position of zero knowledge and complete ignorance.

And by the way, Sutton Council similarly rejects "Tosh" planning applications from white and/or Christian Capitalists! [Which by contrast, presumably you welcome?]

The last Aziz application attracted 660 letters of objection and the reasons stated at the meetings were certainly rational and justified. [Again, you weren't there, so how can you claim what went on?]

Contrary to your claims, (and unlike yourself), few of us hold or seek to spread any extremist political views. We can however spot a tosh planning application - and we're getting increasingly good at it!

Happy shifter said...

For all the people who are against it ( I am Christian if it makes any difference ) you racist pieces of jobsworthness! I hope they get it and change the face of WP from a ageing underlined racist WP to a multicultural suburb (BTW in ethnic parts of this great city local business thrive as service/loyalty and customs are more appreciated than the poundland that greets you as you arrive! WP time for a change ......

Andrew said...

Im sorry, but it is clear from the posts on here and on the Facebook page that the basis of the majority of objection stems from an underlying current of 'we don't want Muslims here'.

To deny that is to be deliberately obtuse.

You lucky people! said...

It is clear that you know little that goes on outside Facebook, and it is equally clear that bigots like yourself supporting a mosque (anywhere and everywhere) are no less bigoted than those against.

Clearly you know nothing about the planning process and failed applications you claim to know about. And you similarly know zip about the contents and rationale of the 660 letters of objection, unlike those of us who have been to the public meetings.

Whether your comments are deliberately or inadvertently obtuse is irrelevant. That you are grinding a bigoted and politically extreme axe is clear enough, for all residents, traders and councillors to see.

guest D said...

Sir, you keep harping on about a completely different planning application, may I remind you we are discussing here a POTENTIAL new planning application.

When and if that is made, then you will have the right to object to it on the basis of that application not on the basis of any other application.

Until then it would be better not to keep harping on about another application from a completely different group, otherwise don't be surprised that you get accused of rabble rousing.

Andrew said...

I am purely using the evidence as per the posts which are available for us to view, which is plain to see to everyone. The truth is the truth, however inconvenient it may be.

You presumably dispute that you are prejudiced in any way, however have branded a non existent planning application as 'tosh' before you or anyone else has seen it.

It seems you, like most, are not starting from a neutral position, rather one heavily stacked against any Islamic centre before any details have been confirmed.

Calling everyone who is not 100% against the - as yet unveiled - plan a bigot is ultra defensive and over the top. I have purely commented on the general feeling of the comments of the general public of Worcester Park who have chosen to voice their opinions on these two open forums.

Simon1606 said...

What defines a "member" of the club? There are several references to "members" in the letter they sent to residents. If the community centre is open to all then I wouldn't have an objection.
If you have to belong to a certain religion to be a "member" then I would not support it any more than if it were being made into a male only club, (or a female only club for that matter) or any other club that excludes a large number of local residents.

johnno said...

Keep your petty insults to yourself. I will be there 2pm Saturday and do my talking then.Will you? doubt it.If you do not like Worcester Park move.

Mole said...

Community Bid for the
Worcester Tavern

I would firstly say I live close by and have done for over
30 years so know the history and what people want to see as much as anyone

I am looking at the proposals as a degeneration of the
community by the loss of a traditional facility and the underutilisation of the
potential of the Worcester Pub.

if we step back the Pub was & should be an integral part
of the area & local community.

The pub was built, as many of the age similar close to a
station and provided a facility for the local community. The area has seen the
loss of other pubs close by and from providing a meeting place and general
benefits of a drink and food venue this will all be lost if a change of use is

The pub may have need some upgrading but with better management it could have been
very successful as it was at one time, and the previous owner’s lack of
interest did not help.

However it was too many residents in the area- their local - a meeting place and more
than anything a community asset. Personally I have met many people there when
travelling from or to the station. Just look how many people particularly in the
winter popped in for quick drink/bite to eat either going to or from the station.

How many of us have been there for party, birthday, event,
quiz etc

The nearest pubs now are the Plough or the Pubs at the top of
Central road . For the residents who live off the Avenue roads neither is acceptable.

Rather than arguing on the merits of the proposed application,
should we all come together and think about a Community Bid for the property.

Instead of moaning do

- Buy from existing owners (Community bid)

- Reuse as a pub.(under bidders interested in pub with restaurant)
- Encourage local communitiy/groups to use

- Consider better use of upper parts for staff or better still
affordable housing for local people only.

If residents come together the possibilities are endless.



Worester Pak said...

Or, more to the point seeing as we don't have an issue with the plans and you do, why don't you both leave?!

Hrtless said...

So, with this logic, I'm assuming that you'll be also arguing that churches should allow other religions to pray in them and atheists/agnostics to be given an area not to worship, butchers to include a vegetarian/meat substitute section, curry houses to sell Chinese food.......in order to be more open to all?

My point has always been this; I have no issues as to which organisation/individual has legally purchased the derelict building. If they are given permission to use the building as they see fit, this is their prerogative.

What did the commentators that object this application do whilst the building was vacant? Bugger all! No one sought a solution for its use, or a way in which the community could use the property, However, when the legal owners have come forward and proposed a use which they don't like or understand, all of a sudden this 'lack of community inclusion' has become an issue.

I notice that no one has mentioned the Royal British Legion Club further along the road, From my understanding, this is a members only club. This isn't to say that this organisation doesn't raise large amounts of money for many worthwhile causes, however why has this organisation not been petitioned for it's closure due to it's segregation from the wider community?

Localiser said...

It has been stated by several contributors to this blog,
that the Ismaili Shia Muslim Community who have plans for this building
represent the benign and friendly face of Islam. Last
Friday lunchtime 4th October three blacked out Mercedes limousines were splayed
across the entrance to the Worcester Tavern. Whilst their occupants hussled
inside two security heavies moved around outside scanning the horizon and talking
into mobile phone and headsets. Contrast and compare.

Today lunchtime, two police officers both with notebooks
open, talking through the ugly wire security fence the purchasers have setup to
a large gentleman in a white shirt.

Not very settling images.

simon f said...

I am glad I am not the only one who witnessed this.I was walking my dog accompanied by my two young children last sunday. I made the mistake of just looking in their direction while my boys played on the grass.I am not going to say what they said to me as I do not want to provoke any more hostility on this debate.It is with great regret that I now have doubts about the new owners that I did not have before.

Peter said...

The medical centre in Manor Drive now has no parking. The road is gridlocked on many occasions so it is impossible to park and take elderley or sick patients to see their doctor. There is absolutely no way the council should allow anything that will bring more traffic to the area.........

Hrtless said...

Do you have a say in which type of products Waitrose sells in it's store? Do you have to vote on whether there is enough speciality bread being sold in it's bakery isle? No, this is due to the fact it is owned by a private company. The building in question is also under private ownership. Therefore, as long as all regulations are adhered to as to it's use, what relevance does voting have to do with what's going on inside.

As I've stated all along, I don't care what the building is used for, as long as all the laws governing it's use are followed. Living in a Democratic society allows this, therefore I would I would defend the right of any individual to use their own property as they saw fit (within the law).

However, what appears to be stated by some of the objectors on this thread and especially on FB, doesn't seem to have any basis on logical reasoning. In fact some of the comments on FB are just frankly offensive.

Guest said...

From those I have seen entering and leaving the Royal British Legion, many are on foot and local (as in living a couple of streets away) and given they presumably consume alcohol, they would be travelling by bus/train/cab if they weren't on foot.
A mosque attracts visitors from a wider network, from dawn 'til dusk and often visitors travelling by car - that's the key difference. The Green Lane application tried claiming otherwise and was utterly discredited - you seem to be making the same mistake.
By the way, the Worcester Park Tavern didn't sit rotting forever and a day - it was snatched off the market, like City Share Deal, almost the landlord could shout "Last Orders!" Don't try to pull a fast one that it sat unwanted on the market - it was off the market and sold before most of us heard it was for sale!

You lucky people! said...

Guest D: "may I remind you we are discussing here a POTENTIAL new planning application."
Back in the real world, may I remind you that the building has already been purchased, for a specific and known purpose. That the predetermined course has been set to develop WP PH - in black and white (and colour) and it is attached to this very thread. That the same group have already (unsuccessfully) attempted a similar development for another building within the same Borough. And that the word "consultation" simply means the action of discussing - and nothing more.
It is patently clear that there is no "POTENTIAL" about this: there is a clear objective. To genuinely conclude anything less or otherwise would require an unparalleled level of unenlightened naivety.

Andrew: Are you familiar with the term "useful idiot"? Even if you're not, I'm sure the Southwest London Ismaili Community will be, after reading your recklessly supportive comments for any and every proposed mosque that appears around Worcester Park (apparently even before the details are known). [And don't bother disputing otherwise - that'll be "tosh!" as well!]

guest D said...

To help you.

The definition of Potential

Capable of being but not yet in existence; latent: a potential problem.

All that you say is true, they will have had pre-planning meetings with Kingston Planners and Councillors who will have critiqued their plans but it is still POTENTIAL!

Tucker said...

There is a perfectly good Community Centre less than 50 yards from The Worcester - why not use that??!! Seem like the Ismail community are trying to separate themselves from the community that already exists. If they truly wanted to be part of our community they would surely not be looking for their own Community Centre!

Save the Woose said...

I'm with you on this one.
Let's make it a Community pub.

Karina said...

So your problem with this is based on how much traffic it will generate? Can I assume that you also have a problem with the number of cars parked outside the Worcester Park Baptist Church every Sunday morning reducing The Avenue to a single lane, or is it just Muslim traffic that you object to?

y said...

difference is the church has been there for many years and there doors are open to all the so called community center wont be

Karina said...

How on earth does it make a difference that the church has been there for years? Traffic is traffic and the fact is that traffic from the Baptist church frequently overflows their car park but nobody seems to have a problem with it. As for the community centre not being open to all, how would you know who will be able to use it? There have been references to members but we don't have any detail what that will mean yet.

If people around here spent more time campaigning for fewer people driving short distances instead of campaigning against people they see as the wrong sort, this world would have a far brighter future.

Dave B said...

Taken from the Kingston Courier.
The proposed Muslim Community centre in Hook has been rejected, as protests form the local neighbours regarding traffic and parking issues was supported by the council.

The councillors, sitting in the development control committee, decided that Argent House, an empty industrial building in Hook Rise South, Hook, is not suitable to host the social activities of the local Ismaili Muslim Community.

Though being disappointed by the verdict, Ismaili’s community members were not sure if they would appeal the decision: “Maybe we’re batting on the wrong wicket, so we might need to find another one,” said a representative who preferred not to be named.

“We don’t really want to stay in an area where the local community doesn’t want us. We want to be in a community where the neighbours can get on with us, and where we can get on with them,” concluded the representative.

Local campaigners collected 232 signatures to oppose the plan, alleging that traffic, parking and the peace of the neighbourhood would have been badly affected by the planned Muslim Community centre.

The Jamatkhana Ismail community, counting of 600 members around Kingston, was looking for a venue to hold its social activities such as yoga and dance classes, youth club seminars, lectures and workshops.

The expected daily attendance was of 200 people while 48-car parking slots would have been made disposable according to the rejected plan.

The centre was to provide work for 20 full-time staff.- See more at: http://kingstoncourier.co.uk/content/muslim-community-centre-rejected-hook#sthash.AfhCXovN.dpuf

y said...

the church as you said is full on sundays but this so called community center is going to have traffic all week which will effect all in worcesterpark nearly everyday church as I said one day a week and open to all types of people not just ismailis. as the title is a ismaili community center I think it is safe to say that it will not be open to any one but ismailis

Alex said...

Katrina, I think you'll find Worcester Park Baptist church is attended almost uniquely by VERY local people, mostly within walking distance and on Sunday, when traffic is at its lowest level and any traffic excess will not inconvenience anyone living locally.
That's the clear, common sense difference.

guest said...

You seem very quick to rubbish the area and also the people of Worcester Park. I wonder if you will turn up at the consultation, doubt it somehow.......

GUEST said...

Seeing that this subject has generated so much debate, I do hope that many of you will attend the consultation. If this application were to be approved it would probably be the biggest singular impact that the Worcester Park community has seen for many years. I would think it is fair to say based on the Parking/Traffic issues this will probably be rejected just like the application made by the SW Ismaili Community last year, but we cannot not just presume it will not happen. Everyone one of us that does not want this to happen must make sure we do something to help. That means signing petitions when they start sending letters to the council explaining your reasons why etc. I have spoken to so many people about this as I am sure many of you have recently but the same phrases " it will never happen/ it will not be approved " seems to crop up. Well it WILL IF WE DO NOT ALL STICK TOGETHER REMEMBER THE CONSULTATION THIS WEEKEND.

You lucky people! said...

Oh come off it! The agenda is known and has been literally expressed in black and white!... And it's their second attempt!

They have purchased this (replacement) building and have expressed the same intention as before. They have hired chartered town planners, who in turn expressed that their client "proposes to convert it into a Community Centre". And the client is staging a consultation exercise for their quote, "scheme".
There is no room for "potential" - the scene is set and it's happening! They will now attempt to 'groom' the WP community, perhaps even specifically seeking out and attempting to charm and disarm those members who did so much to lift the veneer from the Green Lane planning application, in an effort to divert attention from very clear, tangible and serious shortcomings.

Karina said...

Nope, I'm being realistic. If you want perfect silence at night you need to live further away from London. And I certainly intend to be at the consultation.

Resident said...

Omg you've cracked the case!!!! Walkie talkies and mobile phones, I'm shocked! What are they doing with those articles on a building site......so dangerous!
As for a suit and limousine how dare they. I'm sure you would feel more at ease if it was a golf gti with youths on board carrying a machette.
I suggest you attend the consultation like me and ask questions about the plans rather than spending your day looking out the window

WPark said...

I applaud you! You certainly talk a good talk and would make a cracking politician. Firstly like many other bloggers I very much doubt you did use the pub when it was open and secondly if you were so concerned about it and wanted to raise community awareness into buying it you would have done so at the time it was being sold.
Let me get this right, you're going to object to the planning of the proposed centre and when it does get rejected you're going to approach the owner with a view to buying it from him............after messing up his plans for the site.........ok..????

You remind me of the presenter of Bullseye who'd look at the disappointed face of the contestant and then say "This is what you could have won"

Remind me to nominate you for a xmas feel good speech!!! In the meantime I think i'll attend the meeting and see what's being proposed

Miss Marple said...

It maybe advantageous for those attending the consultation for the Ismaili Community Centre, to access and read the following if you have any reservations regarding the Proposal. www.jtspartnership.co.uk/portfolios/planning - see on this page the process
which was employed to consult with residents to convert a vacant office building in Edgbaston into an Ismaili Community Centre -you will see how important it is not to complete and sign a Consultation form if offered to you to do so at the Consultation!!!

WP-Local-Resident said...

I agree with most that this central location/property is not suitable for a religious community centre due to it's already busy location. Parking and traffic caused by their members WILL be a HUGE issue, this is a no-brainer. There will be parking problems on all nearby/busy streets including the avenue and manor drive and IMO these residents deserve the peace and quiet they are accustomed to. These roads are already a nightmare at rush hour due to people who use the station to commute from other areas then park their cars outside manor drive/avenue/surrounding roads. More traffic will make it unbearable and a complete nightmare for us residents.

I have nothing against the Ismaili people or their religious beliefs and would oppose any business/institution in this location that would cause mass disturbance to the area/residents.

This land would make a great site for new housing something which the "local community" really needs and which would not be a burden on our traffic and limited parking.

There is no need for some of the posters on here to become defensive not everyone is a racist. Believe it or not some of us actually like to keep our area as accessible and traffic free as possible.

Surely a less congested, open spaced area away from busy roads with ample parking would ideal for this type of proposition.

WP Born and Bred said...

I was born and brought up in Worcester Park, and chose to bring up my children here because I liked the semi village English way of life. I am now going to take a deep breath and say what many on here feel and are frightened to say for fear of being called racist.
I did not choose to live in a multi cultural country, it has been imposed on me by various politicians from all parties. I have no objection to people arriving here and fully integrating with the current community, but I do object to the way in which my surrounding area has been changed beyond recognition by people moving here from other countries and gradually buying up property and shops so that I sometimes feel the 'foreigner' in my own town. New Malden we all know has the largest population of Koreans in Europe, and practically every shop in Burlington Road is targeted at non indigenous customers. They have not and never intended to integrate with the local community and I fear the determination of certain Islamic communities to obtain property here means their intention for Worcester Park is the same. Let the Worcester be a community centre by all means, allow Islamic groups to use it as well, but why do they have to have a separate building just for themselves alone?
Am I so wrong in wanting England to be the England of my childhood?

Guest said...

I would firstly like to know where I can purchase the crystal ball you have used to see the parking problems the centre will cause before the centre has even opened. Have you visited any of the other sites of these community centres to research if any problems have been caused by their attendees??? The proposed time is in the evening away from peak hours and a car park is in place so any street parking would come from an overspill. Are you seriously telling me there would parking issues at 7 in the evening from an overspill (that being there was one)
Also how many community centres do you know of that are actually in an open spaced area away from busy roads with ample parking.......... I think you may have mistook this to be a planning application for a farm!

Alex said...

Do you seriously expect anyone who wants to get a planning application approved to honestly admit that it would cause traffic and parking chaos? Have you already forgotten the joke that was the Green Lane "Green Mosque" application?

So how do you know this one won't cause traffic and parking problems? On the basis of swallowing the assurances of those who want the application approved?

guest said...

No I don't expect them to admit it but at the same time it is quite clear from seeing, that there is sufficent car park space for the numbers they have quoted. If after the centre opens there is an overspill in the evenings, I stil deem it better than having an overspill throughout the day if a poular brand was to open up instead.

TL said...

Using such an iconic local building for something available to such a small minority seems illogical.

Some commenters have suggested that all opponents to the plan are racist by default, whilst at the same time insisting that it would be a sensible idea to establish a religious community centre in the heart of this majority racist area (great logic). (p.s. I don't believe this area to be majority racist, even though we clearly have some small minded bigots with internet access here) This is the same as making an argument that everyone for the proposals is a religious extremist.

I worked in the Woose a few years before it closed and the reality of running a profitable business on such a large site was a challenge for the landlady Lyn and her replacement Zaf. We had far more than this proposals 40-50 guests visit the pub each day and still could not convince spirit it was worth keeping and maintaining the site. Despite this, the regular quiz nights, radio jackie nights, (one of the last pool tables in the local area pubs) and other events held at the pub were enjoyed by many, and provided the wider community with significant funds from the taxable profits made by the tavern. (I acknowledge it created noise, but we are right between a train station and a main road, it's not exactly been quiet as the Cotswolds since it closed)

However, as these proposals are for religious use there will likely be a tax exempt status, and the majority of the community will be excluded from using the building. These proposals will therefore provide nothing of value to the community.

Will it have a negative impact? Possibly
Will it have a positive impact? No
Has anyone suggested anything better to do with it other than 'bring back that pub that couldn't turn a profit because I like cheap lager and football'? No

Karina said...

If you start talking about 'indigenous populations' and complaining that you don't want to live in a multi cultural society, it's pretty reasonable for people to call you racist because those are racist beliefs. See how that works?

WP Born and Bred said...

No Karina that is where you are wrong. I did not say I did not want to live in a multi-cultural society, I said I was never give the choice when politicians made the decision to allow/encourage so many immigrants to come here in such a short space of time. As soon as anyone raises any objections to the balance of a community changing they are deemed as racist. I have recently been to Turkey. I loved the small village where we stayed, marvelled at the beauty of the mosque and listened quietly every time the soothing and exotic (to me) call to prayer was made. I have friends, work colleagues and neighbours of quite a few nationalities who have integrated in to British society and in fact most of them share my views. They re-located here because they wanted to live in England, not a mini middle east. What I do not understand is why people arrive here and want to change things to resemble the countries they have come from? I would not expect to go and live in another country and try and change it to be like England. I would embrace the difference in culture and enjoy all it's differences. I am not a racist or a bigot, but I am fearful for my own children and subsequent grandchildren regarding the enormous changes that have been wrought on a country that I love.

Karina said...

Yeah, saying that people from other countries are fine in their own country but you don't want them coming to your country is totally not racist.

Out of interest, do you hold the same contempt for the British people who move to Spain and don't make any attempt to 'integrate'?

Guest said...

Unfortunately I won't be able to make the meeting today, however one question that I don't feel has been addressed is what the community centre will do for the local community? Doing some research, it seems that the aga khan is all about making his projects (such as the schools, universities and hospitals he's set up) not only for his followers but also for the surrounding community. Why should the community centre be any different? Traffic aside, if this building can be utilised in a way that is amenable to the Ismaili community AND can also be of benefit to the local community it could be an asset to Worcester park. If anyone would be kind enough to ask this question at the meeting, it would be greatly appreciated. I love this town and only want the best for it.

WP Born and Bred said...

Yes, absolutely. I loathe seeing Spanish towns ruined by 'British Pubs' that serve English Breakfasts and Roast on a Sunday. Once again you have either mis-read or twisted my words, I did not say they shouldn't come her, just that they should integrate and embrace our way of life and culture not impose their own changes to it. Your comments just seem to prove that you are sadly only too happy to stereo type everyone who may have the 'audacity' to voice their concerns as some sort of tattooed National Front thug. There seems to be a view that if you are intelligent, well educated and kind you must embrace multi-culturalism and if you do not, you are automatically a racist. I find it incredibly sad that most people I meet, over a dinner party, in the local pub, at work, all share my views but would run a mile rather than voice them in public for fear of how they would be viewed.

Guest said...

Went to meeting Friday evening spoke to two people at length. One said that he lived in Croydon! also said that it would only be used between 7.30 - 9.30 each evening for prayers. Pointed out at 8 p.m. traffic still very busy,- shrug of the shoulders. Asked why such a large building for 20 - 30 people - said they had done their homework - impossible to calculate when he said that people would be coming in from Croydon, Wimbledon, New Malden,Kingston, Sutton !. - shrug of the shoulders. -What about the elderly? - would be shipped in by mini-bus. Pointed out Manor Park is being used for worship and local residents are fed up with the parking in their roads - local people approx 1 p.m. on a Friday are being stopped by people on the gate from driving into the car park as it is full - again doesn't know anything about that ! Pointed out black limosines with blacked out windows and bouncers on the gates of WP Tavern this week - doesn't know anything about that either. Heard some bloggers had experienced abuse from these people.
Second person spoken to said that the Centre would only be used by WP and NM Ismailis !! Also said that it would be used all day for different activities weekdays and weekends.!
Conflicting to say the least.

Notablogger said...

I don't get the 'it won't benefit the whole community so let's not have it at all' argument.

Under that argument, the Catholic church at the top of the hill will have to go - it only benefits a small section of the community and I've heard they drink alcohol during the Sunday morning service.

As will the schools, because only young people are allowed to go there. We could use their buildings for something that benefits everyone in Worcester Park, not just children.

There's a retirement home in Green Lane too. Will they thirty-somethings like myself to live there? I think not. Let's put a stop to that and ensure that everybody is allowed to live there.

The Worcester Park Athletics Club does nothing for me, as I don't play sports. I would have that bulldozed and replaced with something that caters for an activity that the whole community can enjoy doing. Like moaning, for example.

Sadsack said...

Bring back the traditional pub! This is such a shame!

WP and Proud said...

Today I drove down the Avenue, turned into Woodlands Avenue, came back, checked all side turnings, came back, drove up Manor Drive and guess what I encountered, yes you've answered correctly, not an empty space.
Tried pulling out of the Avenue junction this evening, guess what, CHAOS.
We need a MOSQUE, sorry Islamic centre, with all the baggage that comes with it, like a severe winter that brings the country to a standstill.

jack said...

For every one of you that posts a blog on this site with your totally valid objections to the community centre, email the same to your local councillor. Remember voicing your opinions to the right people is the only way we can stop this.

guest said...

The numbers they have quoted are incorrect and there is insufficient parking in the area. Housing would be the best use for this site. Why are you arguing when it obviously going to cause massive issues

Truth-Hurts said...

According to all the info online the ismaili community call a "Mosque" a community centre as the main core of main-stream muslims are oppose to the ismaili religious beliefs which are slightly different to the mainstream. So in theory this IS a Mosque, the meditation room is the prayer hall...

I used to live near Croydon over a decade ago where the mosque on London Road was Extremely busy and a night nightmare for local traffic/parking. Worshippers even used to park down my street and the mosque was 4-5 streets away on a main road! This all happen in 1 decade from a low population of worshippers to complete and utter domination of the area and local roads.

This will bring many more worshippers to WP as many of their community will begin to relocate to the once idyllic WP in mass and we will be in the same sorry state as the residents near the Croydon Mosque.

It makes common sense to open this "Mosque" in an area that can accommodate the vast number of people that will frequent this place.

Guest said...

The address to look at the Ismaili Community Centres is http://www.theismaili.org/
It shows how many people turn up at these special occasions. Over 400 to Eid .

Me said...

The Worcester Park should benefit the whole community. It is within walking distance for many people and has, for many years, not caused additional traffic. With the plans for an Ismaili Community Centre, there will most definitely be an impact to the traffic on the Avenue and surrounding areas, as well the identity of this area. More importantly though, this is a Christian country and we are being stripped of our culture. Before you accuse me of being a racist, my father was born in Sri Lanka, my mother is English, my children are half Italian and my partner is Jamaican.

Carl said...

Well done for your post on the blog, it shows that the majority of Worcester Park no matter what background object to this proposal because we care about where we live. Also I have heard there is a petition doing the rounds could anyone let me know I can locate this?

jackson t said...

I see once again Kingston Guardian fail to do any report about the WP Tavern. Oh apart from the letter page where there main letter is from someone claiming that anyone that is against the proposal must be ignorant and prejudiced. Seems that our local paper already has decided its views and not remained neutral, real shame RIP Kingston Guardian.

Concerned said...

On reading about this new community centre, I feel we are not being told the whole truth and the centre is going to attract large numbers of people to the area. As a Worcester Park resident, i feel the area will become heavily congested, The Avenue and surrounding roads are already filled with parked cars and parking is severely limited anyway, I feel this centre will bring the whole area to a standstill.

Guest said...

Any news on a petition?

me said...

Once upon a time there was a small kingdom that consisted of a good size town. The king and his wife and his only son lived in a humble mansion at the edge of town. Then came a time when the son took a baby Elephant for a pet. The royal elephant was given a roam-free city. The little baby Elephant was cute and friendly and people fell in love with him. However, baby elephants grow up fast, and, not controlled and trained, they can do a lot of harm.

The Elephant grew big, and with no discipline, he started hurting citizens, destroying shops, ruining gardens and doing many harmful things in the town day in and day out.

People of the town grew impatient, and decided to have a town walk to the kings mansion to object to the presence of the Elephant. On the set date day, all of the town’s people gathered downtown and started their walk to the King’s residence. Edging closer to the King’s mansion, some people became weary of what might happen if the king does not like what he hears. Needless to say people gradually started sneaking out of the walk. Once the walk reached the Kings mansion gate, there was only one man left.

Sure enough, the king came out to see why this man has come to his mansion. The man was tired from the long walk. He looked around and found out he was the only man standing. Once the king asked why he came, the man said:

“ King, I have come representing the town. The people of this town deserve what they get. They have sent me to let you know that your son’s pet Elephant is lonely. He needs a female Elephant, so they can make a family and have more Elephants. The town people need those Elephants to step on anything that is worthy or decent in this town.”

Here ends the story.

I hope our elected officials read this story and discern its meaning..........

Mr. Logic said...

But we've already got a white elephant in Worcester Park! It's called "One-way car park". It's not lonely either, it's mate is another white elephant, living in North Cheam. She's called "Victoria House", and she's a real beauty!
Mind you, the new bus stop is looking lonely (since it delays far more cars than it attracts passengers). How about spending another fortune on another one? - Then perhaps the original bus stop will attract more passengers? [I'm sure that makes sense on some level]. Oh, go on! Everyone knows there's a huge surplus of cash in the Country.

Common Sense said...

I think the answer is in the application. It is a Muslim centre. Not a Surrey recreation centre. Even if you were to be allowed entry, you would then be subject to doctrine of the environment, which I'm guessing won't be convivial to the current locale or in English.

john said...

I would prefer the idea of flats or even a hotel (random) over a religious centre. If the worst came to the worst, (and it pains me to say this as I was a fan of the WP) level it and make a larger train car park. That will generate taxable revenue and would provide space for many more cars.

Guest said...

Once upon a time there was a road junction at the top of the Avenue outside of the Worcester Park Tavern.
Then last evening when the traffic was at is's heaviest an accident occurred.
Two fire engines two ambulances and a number of police cars were called to sort out the carnage, thankfully nobody was seriously hurt.
Sometime ago some friendly members of the Islamic community held a consultation and told us how wonderful an Islamic Centre would be at the Worcester Park Tavern and how thrilled the residents of Worcester Park should be.
They did not foresee a problem with increased traffic at this junction and Worcester Park in general.
But how the smiles would have disappeared if they had witnessed yesterday's accident.
Maybe, just maybe the residents of Worcester Park don't need your Islamic Centre and all the traffic problems that come with it.
Maybe the Worcester Park residents in their tens of thousands will unite as one to fight this unwanted problem, I'm sure they will, common sense will prevail.

Alex said...

Yesterday, with my own eyes, I witnessed one of the fire engines (with sirens blaring and lights flashing), trying to make its way down Central Road. Despite the crew's best efforts (and the efforts of all other drivers to get out of the way), it's progress was seriously hampered by the sheer volume of traffic and the fire crew could only negotiate their way down the hill at a crawl.

Hundreds of other pedestrians, drivers, residents and traders saw exactly the same chaotic scene as I did. And this is before anyone tries adding a community centre - not for the local community, but to attract Ismaili visitors from all over south west London!

It would be both a ludicrous suggestion and an insult to our local community to claim that this centre, with its huge catchment area (and full programme of events, all day, every day) will not attract cars like bees around a honeypot and make these already critical problems dramatically worse.

When the application is finally received, real experiences like this need to count for much more than any professional presentation, consisting of reassuring theories, with lashings of charm. ANY centre that draws cars to an area already overrun with traffic and parking problems is completely impractical - end of story.

And what's the big idea behind delaying this unavoidable planning application? Do they honestly think if they delay for long enough, we will forget and hope we won't actually notice hundreds of extra visitors arriving, en masse, by car?

newcomer said...

Whatever the W P is eventyally used for - it should benefit the whole community. My gutt feeling is that money speaks louder. Worcester park is a community and this centre should benefit the whole of us.

Me said...

Taking of which? Is anyone at all keeps an eye on the planning application with Kingston Council? Sure we would not want to miss that would we?

Worcester Park Blogger said...

Yes, I have spoken to the gentleman who has organised the petition which he has been taking door to door. I am keeping an eye out for any developments.

Me said...

I would also suggest dropping it off to number of local shops(petshop, green grocers etc) which were collecting signatures in the past ,so the ones who want to sign it off can do it at their leisure.
Signatures are fine but I would say we should keep an eye on the application to the Kingston council as letter of objections speak louder than signature on the petition.

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