Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Thoughts On The Tavern Consultation

Like many Worcester Parkers, I went over to the Old Worcester Park Tavern on Saturday to see the Ismaili presentation for their proposed community centre.

I should say now that this wasn’t my first contact with this Ismaili community. The previous week I, and several other local supposedly ‘influential’ people received invitations to meet with their representatives at the home of one of their local members. I managed to visit them last Friday for a cup of tea and a chat. They were extremely charming and hospitable and wanted to explain in greater detail than was possible at this weekend’s event what the Ismaili community was all about, talk about their current centres in London and the good works they did around the world.

They had done their homework; they knew all about the Green Lane application, and had been at the latest hearing, although they did explain that the Green Lane application was a completely different group and nothing to do with them. I admit I did come away feeling more reassured about their proposal, which was to be expected.

On Saturday, even though I had an idea of what to expect, I was still struck, like I think many people were, by the friendly hospitality shown by the Ismaili volunteers to everyone who turned up. They were keen to demonstrate what the Ismaili community is all about and what makes them a unique group and I think they made a positive impact here.

Many readers will be aware that a number of people had planned to turn up at 2pm for a major protest. Some police arrived just before 2pm and were keeping an eye out while wandering around the presentation space. The room was indeed at its most packed at 2pm (pictured above) but there was no sign of any organised protest though. Perhaps the police presence put them off or perhaps, as one volunteer suggested, they were taken aback by being offered a hot drink and some biscuits by the people they had come to protest against.

The Proposal

First I should point out that the number of visitors I originally published has been revised upwards. I was originally given these numbers by The JTS Partnership LLP, the company employed to run their campaign. However at the consultation event there were information boards around including one which showed projected visitor numbers as being around 70-80 on most evenings with up to 135 on Friday evenings. There could be a number of reasons why the numbers I was given the first time were not the same as the ones being publicised now. I am not going to assume it is a particularly sinister reason, nor will I assume it is completely benign. I am keeping an open mind.

I have been told more than once that this will not be a Mosque. It is to be known only as an Ismaili Community Centre. However I was told that there will be a large room set aside for regular religious services. These would include communal prayer, readings, lessons et cetera – very similar I expect to what many of us sometimes experience on a Sunday morning. I was told that these are quite different to the five daily prayers that a Mosque would host, and also that to be a Mosque it would require other things including a minaret.

Mind you regardless of what it is called, I don’t have any problems with people praying, either all together or separately. The only problem with a large number of people turning up to attend a specifically timed function, be it prayers, choir practice or a used car auction is Worcester Park’s age old traffic and parking one. It is very possible that more people were in the building at any one time when it was a pub, than will be attending one of the Ismaili events. And there are 54 car parking spaces which I would think would be enough for 135 people, especially when you consider many people will be husbands and wives (plus others) in a single car and some will arrive by train etc. However while I was reassured that they would not all turn up and leave at the same time, I can’t help thinking it would be within a much shorter time span that those turning up to hear the “Rough Diamonds” play a few sets at the Tavern, especially when many of those drinking would have specifically chosen not to turn up by car. I am not an expert on traffic and parking but I am open to the idea that this may cause some extra problems in the immediate vicinity at certain times of the week.

I also find myself wondering why they have stated a rough maximum of 135 people when their recent proposal in Hook, which was turned down by Kingston council, was expecting a daily attendance of 200 people. Being that this would be representing the same large overall area, where have the other 65 people gone? I realise that only a lowish percentage of all the area’s Ismailis would be turning up regularly, but it is stated in this report that there are 600 members around Kingston and if this centre was serving all of Kingston plus parts of Sutton, Surrey and other areas, I wonder if 135 people is an accurate projection. Conflicting figures are never a good sign.

The Ismailis

I must admit from my experiences so far I rather like the Ismaili people I have met. In one of the articles in their Winter 2012 issue (No. 74) of “The Ismaili”, which I picked up on Saturday, I noted that they are encouraged, though thinking carefully and living their values, to “become ambassadors of Islam who represent a positive, ethical face of the faith.” (Page 69 if you are interested.)

As far as I am aware, unlike the group at 2-4 Green Lane, they don’t make a habit of pushing the same proposal numerous times trying to wear down local opposition until they get their way. They have a reputation for being moderate, professional, educated and generous which is borne out by several things I have heard and read, (not only from Ismaili publications.)

They seem to be quite concerned with building bridges with other communities, something that gets a big thumbs up from me. In a speech by their leader, His Highness the Aga Khan (pictured left), which I feel captures this concern, he mentions one of the famous story about Jesus:
“'Who is my Neighbour?' - one of the central Christian narratives asks. Jesus responds by telling the story of the Good Samaritan -- a foreigner, a representative of the Other, who reaches out sympathetically, across ethnic and cultural divides, to show mercy to the fallen stranger at the side of the road.”
The whole speech can be found here and I would say is well worth a look.

I have read comments from other members of the Muslim community denouncing Ismailis as not 'real Muslims'. See here for a sample. Although I hope and assume it is just a minority expressing such opinions.

In Conclusion

Readers will note it has taken me a few days to formulate this particular post. This is a complex issue and not one where I would want to be jumping to a quick conclusion based on scant evidence. I admit if we are not going to see the building turn back into a pub, I would probably rather see the proposed hotel development go ahead which I think would do immense good for the local economy. Incidentally I was told that the building is still owned by Shiraz and Nameem Bhogani who are Ismailis but have not actually sold it to the Ismaili community.

However I think the numbers of people and also timings of visits need to be made much clearer and the conflicting numbers all resolved independently before any real conclusions can be drawn about this proposal. While the Green Lane proposal was clearly just a bad planning proposal (an opinion now endorsed twice by Sutton’s planners and the Development Control Committee), this one could possibly be a bad planning proposal but it is not as clear cut. More independent evidence is clearly needed.

Many have said that the building should continue to serve the whole community. One of the first things I suggested at my first meeting was to find a way to involve the whole community in the centre.

Perhaps the hotel could still go ahead, but include a smaller meeting area dedicated for Ismailis plus a community centre as well. In a five or six story hotel building taking up the land available (with underground parking for 150 cars), I’m sure that would be a very feasible arrangement that would hopefully be better received by the Worcester Park community. – Just a thought.

86 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

guest said...

I agree everyone is being suckered in by nice PR it is the oldest trick in tbe book
Look at the facts the capacity is larger is being shown, there is insufficient parking, people will not be using public transport in large numbers, this is the only large centre around and so human nature will mean more people come to it and awhen jt becomes popular people will want to bold weddings etc increasing the usuage. It it obvious.

This site needs to be used responsibly (e.g. housing)

guest D said...

Thanks for a nice considered post, which I feel sums up the situation nicely. I also have concerns but feel that we must abide by the law of the land and judge this proposal in the same way as we would a Christian Community Centre.

I also feel that a 'Pod' hotel would make the best use of the land, but I would question whether the developers would get building consent for an underground car park on the Beverley Brook flood plain and parking would be an important consideration with a 'Pod' hotel. The main target of these hotels is not tourists wishing to see the delights of Stone Place car park or the wonders of Beverley Brook but business people wanting to use their cars but avoid the high costs and hassle of driving to Central London.

Rajesh Saini said...

Very well written blog, as you have said I can also say that from my personal experiences of Ismailis (I have known a few) they are generally moderate, professional, educated and want to build bridges between communities they are not confrontational or extremists.

Bittersweet said...

I agree - I've seen lots of senior citizens there happy with their free cup of coffee and a biscuit... All volunteers looked civilised wearing suits and polished shoes - I wonder how many of them would attend their meetings in these civilised clothes? It's all a dress-up and clever PR as they know we don't want them here. On one of the posters they had there, they say clearly: "The overall reduction in car trips is likely to be more since some members will undertake journeys by alternative means if moved to Worcester Park".
It is a prove that they plan an expansion!! And even if they don't plan to have a mosque in this specific building, they will buy another one and will cleverly apply for planning application using a wonderful PR and their personal charm, and WILL have a mosque in WP.

Duff Paddy said...

I'm a part of a Christian community who regularly meet in
Worcester Park. My experience of this community is they are incredibly
welcoming and inclusive. They take part in and contribute to Worcester Park.
Wonderful. But do you know what? I wouldn't want my inclusive Christian
community to take over the Worcester Park Tavern.

My reasoning is simple, as soon as you bring faith into the conversation it
will always ostracise/exclude others. And the Worcester Park Tavern, as a
landmark, is a huge part of the WP community as a whole. I want this space to
be used by everyone. I want the tavern to boast facilities that all can avail
of, whether it be one or more of the following: -

• restaurant

• cafe

• decent pub

• hotel

Or even better wouldn't it be wonderful to have a community centre that all
faiths could make use of (through hiring rooms) as well as serving the
community for whatever they want to use it for? Think: -

• music

• dance studio

• theatre

• art exhibitions

• guitar classes

• NCT classes

• debt counselling

• Youth events

Imagine? How great that would be?

Unfortunately, I do understand that an incredible amount of money and an even
greater amount of passion and dedication is required for this but it's nice to

In closing, allowing the WP Tavern for use by only 135 people feels wrong to
me. It feel's like everyone else is losing this venue. And of these 135 persons
how any live locally? Half that? Quarter? If this is the case then the proposal
is only serving a maximum of 20 households in Worcester Park.

I for one hope to see the Tavern, or what it becomes, available to all.

Concerned said...

'Civilised clothes'?! So wearing westernised clothes is now some kind of trick, and it is somehow 'bad' to wear traditional clothes in a religious environment? I wear sweat pants to run in and pyjamas to sleep in and a uniform to work in. Is this dress-up and 'clever'? No. Everybody wears different clothes according to what is appropriate. A suit for a corporate event or planning meeting or simply to make a good impression is appropriate, and clothing for mosque or church or prayer (across a range of religions) may be different. The question is not about expressing racist views. You have missed the point. The debate is about what will work for Worcester park with parking and community support. Or at least it would be had a 'them' and 'us' attitude not been already established.

Bittersweet said...

What I meant was that these people pretended they were somebody who they were not. They want to show us how Westernised they are and one of the volunteers even said to me last Saturday: look, we are not wearing Muslim clothes like the other ones do... I was puzzled to hear it as I didn't ask him the question about clothes...

They tell us how many different activities they offer for the whole community of WP (i.e. yoga, fitness, senior citizens clubs etc.) and they'll continue to be good members of our community until they receive their planning permission and then the whole situation will change: only Muslim people will be allowed to participate as the character of these activities will change to "for women only" so men will not be allowed, later they'll be doing prayers five times a day and non-Muslim people will stop coming as these prayers are of no interest to them... and that way - gradually and naturally - it will become just a Muslim community centre and the next stop will be to have here a Mosque which will attract even more people and traffic here

Yes, and what about the traffic? Have you ever been at this junction during the day? Try it and you won't be disappointed... chock-a-block whole day round... do we need another 50 cars at a time there? no thanks!

Again they are claiming they'll be using public transport (total rubbish - how are they going to make people use buses and not their own cars?) or their meetings will be held outside the rush hours... yes, they will be - for a week or two and then they'll do what suits them best.

I can see their PR of a free coffee and a biscuit worked well on you... Such a cheap trick but works so well...

moreconcerned said...

I'd appreciate it if you didn't try to tell me what has 'worked well' on me. I actually have not received a free biscuit or cup of tea. What prompted my response was actually the attitude you are taking towards human beings. 'They' are no different from you or I. You have your beliefs and I have mine, the person who runs the local pub probably has very different beliefs to both of s. Just because this group shares beliefs and have a name that has unfortunately received a lot of ill informed media attention it doesn't mean 'they' should be rejected.
Perhaps the person you spoke to sensed that you weren't being particularly open minded. It is an unfortunate reflection on our society when people feel yet have to dress a certain way to be accepted. As far as I am aware though, this group have not pretended to beanything they are not. Never have they denied being Muslim.
I appreciate your arguments against parking and traffic. I have driven across that junction in heavy traffic many times, hence why I cited these as valid reasons to object to the plans in my previous comment.

Moreconcerned said...

Perhaps it would be a good idea to examine your own attitudes you talk about this group 'tricking' you and being nice until they put their foot down to get what they want. Does that ring a bell with you at all? You appear to be one of these unfortunate people who preach acceptance and open mindedness until it no longer suits them. It would seem your true colours have shown Bittersweet.

James said...

Getting permission to have a community center will be a foot in the door, once that is permitted there is ample time for planning requests to be submitted repeatedly until the council cave in, and eventually there will be a mosque there, bringing with it gridlock, and illegally parked cars as we see in Morden, and police resources bring used to manage the traffic also as we see in Morden.

steve said...

I wrote the comment about PR and my point is they were hiding their true intentions about increasing usage, problems with traffic, parking etc. I couldn't care if this is religious or not but I do slick presentations at work and it is all about what they are not telling you. By arguing about religion you are missing the points which again is a clever distraction tactic. Ognore the potential problems or argue about something else but I have written to my councillors to state these problems. WP blogger balanced post but not doing enough and taking too much at face value

Guest said...

Steve if you do slick presentations you should also be aware that not everyone has something to hide or not telling.

Perhaps people around you are more Genuine and telling you everything. if they were hiding the true intentions why would they face the public when they had an opportunity to hide behind the planners

Guest said...

Dear James

Explain more about the foot in the door. I somehow do not see a massive grand mosque like the one in morden being built unless briarwood court is brought down.

You talk about police resources, please when the pub was in existence we used more of these services to deal with drunks

If you we're at the presentation you would have heard the gathering is schedule for the evening period after 7.30 pm which at that stage does not have grid locks.

jack said...

Also worth contacting JTS planners and let them know your objections. This could also help stop this happening. Although from what I have heard so far cannot see his being passed due to previous application.

t hade said...

Totally agree with jack/guest avenue everyone needs to contact their councillor. Writing on the WP blog is ok, but its contacting the councillors that will make a difference.

Alex said...

Jack, JTS are simply a hired gun, who want to make as much money out of this application, for as long as possible.
Worse still, giving JTS sight of a detailed, reasoned objection will simply give them advance warning of what cards you are going to play - keep them completely out of the frame.

Alex said...

I suspect the local Councillors' mailboxes must be heaving by now - what about contacting Kingston's illustrious MP?
As "Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change", presumably he'd take an interest in traffic, parking and associated, resulting pollution levels in his own backyard?

Rajesh Saini said...

oh dear, if we are to base what the what has been done by the Ismailis in the past, you will see all the community centers they have build over the years are still community centers and not mosques

Rajesh Saini said...

Do you know that most local Gyms and Recreation centers run Woman Only Classes. What does this make them...........

There are other Ismaili centers in the UK and around the world. Have you bothered looking at the type of building they are and the type of events they run ?


Guest said...

Please look at this website and see how many people attend these events.http://www.theismaili.org/cms/ !!

Guest said...

Please read Mr Rajesh Saini's website and one will see how many people attend these events. 400 for Eid !!!

Barry Cullum said...

got the address for it?

Guest said...

Yes the address is http://www.theismaili.org/cms/

guest malden said...

Yes and look at attendances no one here is fooled. Petition against plans I am told will out very soon.

Alex said...

Rajesh, what material difference should it make what this or any other Ismaili building looks like or what kind of events will run inside it?

I can't really see Kingston Planning announcing: We would have rejected the application, BUT for the lovely look of the building and the nice events being run inside!

Guest said...

Click on Mr Sani's comment and you will find it.

Barry Cullum said...


sarah h said...

Also contacted local councillor, said people need to register their concerns.So far there has been a huge response but we need to keep it up.Hope all of you that have written on the blog have done this otherwise all the protests will be pointless.

Jane said...

Is it best to write a letter of concern to David Fraser our local councillor, or is a phone call adequate. Thank you.

guest said...

When contacting your local councillor remember that they are part timers not council employees, so may well be doing other things during the hours you want to call.

Use their email address (if given) or send a message by snail mail, that way they can deal with it when they are dealing with council business.

Rajesh Saini said...


Bittersweet was implying this was a foot in the door and the eventually the Ismialis will turn this into a Mosque. My point was they have never done this so far with all the other buildings they run, so why would they do it now.

Rajesh Saini said...

I will be registering my support to my councillors and the Kingston MP

Rajesh Saini said...

sounds like the average numbers for a wedding reception that used to happen in the pub

guest said...

to Rajesh Have you turned a blind eye to all the complaints about the Mosque in Morden. You don't seem to have any consideration to the Community around the WP Tavern. Just being selfish. We have never experienced any trouble from the Pub, no parking issues. This will be not true if the Ismailis take it over. What our problem is, it is not destined for the WP Ismailis it is for Ismailis from other Boroughs which will saturate WP and turn into another Croydon etc. Have you not read about the Manor Park residents who are already saturated with parking in their roads. This as I have repeatedly said the parking and influx of people coming from other Boroughs to WP is our main concern.

David K said...

Hi Rajesh. There is no way that the average number of people attending a wedding reception is anywhere near 400. Also, I don't suppose that the Worcester Park Tavern held that many wedding receptions.

Alex said...

Guest, let me make it simpler: I really don't care what whether it's called a mosque, a community centre or a Jamatkhana. And by extension, it wouldn't matter any more or less if it's purpose was non-secular: a cinema, a theatre or a bingo hall. Nor do I particularly care about its appearance (though I'd hate another Victoria House disaster, so don't involve Sutton's Outer London Fund A-team!)

The essential truth is that the intended purpose is plainly not to attract the local community, but to attract numerous attendees from half a dozen London Boroughs and at least several in Surrey. I suspect Kingston Planning are going to realise pretty quickly that there will be an impact - and it will be severe.

I attended the consultation, met some very pleasant members of the Ismaili community, asked some questions and actively listened to what they had to say: but my conclusion is that the forthcoming planning application will be very bad news for Worcester Park. That said, I will wait for the application and read it thoroughly before bombarding Kingston's Councillors with objections to an (as yet) non-existent application.

guest 23 said...

According to reports in this week Epsom and also Sutton Guardian the Ismaili owners thought they got a lot of positive feedback from the consultations. Also they were pleased that there were no incidents on saturday as they expecting some kind of protest. Well i was there both days and just because i acted in a civil manner as did everyone else does not mean i agree with this proposal. It seems that because no one started waving banners etc that they supported this idea.Also they were giving out comment forms once again did not receive one . I got the the impression that the vast majority of people were totally against it and did not believe the statistics. Also why is it that Kingston Guardian is so reluctant print anything about this whereas Epsom and Sutton local papers do, i wonder why.........

dave longfellow said...

Talking to some shop owners today, apparently there is a petition starting soon. This one is going cover a far greater area than the Green Lane "community centre" petition. That is good news considering that one was nearly 4000 this could be even bigger. As for petitions for well there is always Rajesh!

johnno said...

Maybe Rajesh can join the other 3 that wanted the Green Lane Mosque, a joint venture the mighty 4 !

gary said...

Totally agree regarding Epsom Guardian news story, just trying to make up some positive pr only problem is its all lies. Went Saturday did not see any positive feedback then! Ps also agree about Kingston Guardian not doing a report very strange.

Howard said...

I don't suppose that Epsom Coaches are thrilled with the news of the proposal which would create more traffic congestion and parking issues. They operate the S3 and X26 buses. The S3 often struggles at times to get through Manor Drive and the X26 is an express service to and from Heathrow which already has a route very prone to delay. More problems are the last thing these routes need.

Guest said...

The S3 struggles to get down EVERY SINGLE road on its route, because it is far too big for the narrow residential roads it trundles along and has been that way for decades - another silly decision by TfL. Whenever and wherever I see the bus it's always more or less empty, and so a much smaller bus should be used.

As for the X26, I fail to see how this would be affected by people turning into The Avenue.

Howard said...

It is a life line for those who use it,reaching parts where other buses do not reach. The critics are often those who drive everywhere. Remember that it is not only parked cars which cause congestion but also the volume of traffic on the road. The traffic lights by the station often cause tailbacks.
The proposal affects all 3 of WP's boroughs so I wonder if there will be inter-borough consultation.

guest said...

This is a planning matter for Kingston Council alone. When and if an application gets made, the neighbouring boroughs can raise material objections just like individuals and will carry more weight than an individual's objection mainly because they will be argued using planning law.

For example Kingston raised an objection to the Green Lane Mosque application as it had no parking on site, but they played no direct part in Sutton's rejection of the proposal.

Rajesh Saini said...

like the old K hoppa buses

Rajesh Saini said...

Lies ?? You want to Clarify what you think are lies using previous experience as evidence ?

Rajesh Saini said...

Johnno, Lets be clear hear, I never Wanted the Green Lane mosque. This is a different proposal from a completely different part of the community.

Rajesh Saini said...

I have lots on consideration. Lets be honest here the new housing development in the Hamptons has caused far more traffic chaos at this junction than this proposal will.

Rajesh Saini said...

400 is average for the ones i go to. WP didn;t have many, oh well thats why it probably shut down, under used so called local.

fred said...

I agree, went to consultation and the" ismaili sales rep" just kept getting his figures wrong. In the end he just gave up think he realsed we knew more than him. Then again he had never heard of worcester park till last friday.

Howard said...

You wouldn't get 400 people in the average church or register office.

shirley said...

Oh thats not good you have just lost 75% of your petition!

Guest said...

Guest to Rajesh You have cemented my point we do not want 400 plus people at your celebrations coming from outside the Borough.As for the Hamptons you have also cemented my point that it has caused congestion so why would we want more. A Few houses on the site with their own garages would not add anything. It would not be anything like the Hamptons and these would be for the residents who wished to live here.

Rajesh Saini said...

Guest, don't worry, once the center is there. they won;t come from outside the borough. they will move into it, so they can walk to it them selves. and then maybe a few more ethnic shops on the high street will open and save me driving to get my weekly Rations. that will be environmentally friendly.

Howard said...

Unfortunately congestion on residential routes in not confined to the S3,the K1 suffers badly,also the K3.I don't know about the K2 or K5. When the K1 started as a Hoppa there was still congestion causing delays. A huge influx of traffic in the WP area will cause problems which have a knock on effect.

Guest to Rajesh said...

Guest. so you are not contributing to Worcester Park shops now! And do we really want 400 plus and maybe more taking our children's houses and school places who parents have lived here all their lives and contributed to our Worcester Park shops all their lives , I would say a litter unfair to say the least but you obviously have no consideration for that.

David K said...

I think that it was very widely used until they got a rubbish landlord in who drove the regulars away. Had it been re-opened with a good landlord it could probably have done very well as a pub. Would I be right in thinking then Rajesh that most wedding parties at the proposed community centre would have around 400 guests?

Rajesh Saini said...

No, I was exaggerating as every one is blowing everything out of proportion. normally between 100 to 200, the bigger weddings the receptions normally happen at Big Hotels

Rajesh Saini said...

Excuse me this this is a democratic property owning free Society. If I have the money to buy a house in the Area I see fit I will.

Guest said...

Why would you want to live amongst us Worcester Parker's when you obviously will not support our shops and don't care our lives will be blighted by excess parking if this Centre goes ahead .

jacko said...

Oh dear sounds like its all getting too much for wp sole ismaili rajesh.From what I have heard today from someone on planning law in kingston council looks like he have to wait a lot longer for the rest of his community to arrive.Might be easier for him to move to sw london rather than the 599 move here!

big al said...

Not center raj not even a CENTRE learn to spell. After that sell up and move on.Not wanted not needed here, you are a person full up with hatred.

Lorna said...

Rajesh in reply to your comment it just show how selfish you are, yes it is a free and Democratic Society and thank God for all those who fought to make it so, please remember that is why it is free so many nations can come and live a better and freer life and therefore we can make what ever observations and comments on things that does not demonstrate freedom for all. We do not want this is little Worcester Park we are already overcrowded. Thank you!

gary t said...

Keep talking raj you are showing your true colours now.

Guest said...

As I understand it, the building is owned by two Ismaili brothers - not the Ismaili community group who hope to establish a centre. The idea is for planning permission to be secured for the Ismaili centre, before the Ismaili community actually buy it from the current owners - which makes sense.

Guest said...

Guest to guest. That is right the two brothers do still own it, it doesn't belong to the Ismaili community group yet that is why we need to show them we do not want the Centre here. Worcester Park cannot cope with so many more people and traffic. We will lose our brilliant community spirit and semi village feel. Worcester Park rules !

Rajesh Saini said...

Don't get that comment. I do live here and actively support the shops, have always done so. Don;t know here the idea of not supporting shops is coming from. Majority of my shopping is done locally.

Howard said...

This week's "Surrey Comet" has an article and a couple of letters about it. These will probably be in the next "Kingston Guardian" which apart from the front page is basically a reprint of the "Comet" a week later (with few indications of a change of time scale which can be confusing! There's an interesting article in the "Times" of 19 Oct about saving a pub which was listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in a bid to prevent change of use.
See also http://www.camra.org.uk/listyourlocal

guest D said...

You could certainly apply to the courts to get it made as an asset of community value. It would need to be something like The Worcester Park Residents Association that does it. But the following applies under the 2011 Localism act.

5 Chapter 3 of the Localism Act 2011 provides for a scheme called
‘assets of community value’. Part of the Government’s community
empowerment agenda, it requires a local council to maintain a list of
‘community assets’.

for community assets can be made by parish councils or by groups with a
connection with the community. Individuals cannot nominate community
assets. If the nomination is accepted, the group will be given time to
come up with a bid for the asset when it is sold.

right to bid only applies when an asset’s owner decides to dispose of
it. There is no compulsion on the owner of that asset to sell it. The
scheme does not give first refusal to the community group, unlike the
equivalent scheme in Scotland; and it is not a community right to buy
the asset, just to bid. This means that the local community bid may not
be the successful one.

But as that excerpt indicates it only gives you the right to bid when the property comes on the market, no rights to control how the owner uses his property.

If a famous band has performed there it may be preserved by the Heritage commision, but it would have to have a distinct connection, like the Detours (Who) with the Railway Tavern in Wealdstone or Fairport Convention with a house of that name in Muswell Hill.

If you are at all serious about stopping this application it will take serious money, fighting it with petitions is useless, you need to fight it at the planning stage and the groups that have done that succesfully usually have hired in a planning consultant to find a way of succesfully objecting. Remember you are fighting a large organisation similar in size to say Tescos with their own experts and the money to employ the best. Also they have the privilege of being able to pre plan, i.e. discuss and modify the plans with Kingston planners so that they will pass the application, the councillors are a different matter.

guest D said...

For planning purposes a figure of 2.5 car occupancy is usually taken, so with 200 they would need 40 spaces, they have 55 so they have sufficient capacity on site,

James said...

The problem with you Ranjesh is, you continually try to aggravate the people of Worcester Park, with badly written / spelt comments, you say a lot but don't back it up.

Whats did you hope to achieve by saying this, "don't worry, once the center is there. they won;t come from outside the
borough. they will move into it, so they can walk to it them selves."

You say "I suppose MacDonalds provably considered it. If not lets invite them to open a drive through that all the community can use,"
I am sure most of Worcester Park would appose a "McDonald's" as well.

The majority of your shopping is done locally is it? were do you shop then Rajesh?

Rajesh said...

James, when people imply they don't want people who are 'Different' in their area its quite offensive, especially when the so called different people are law abiding British born, tax paying British Citizens who make a positive contribution to the community and the country. I find it extremely offensive when people make judgements about people without getting to know them. Comments like people parents and grand parents living here first and so they feel they have more rights then people who move into the area really inappropriate considering London is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicity that will always attract people from different parts of the world and different parts of this country. People seem to forget the benefits Britain has gained the from the British Empire. The tone of a lot of the comments people are making here is that Ismailis are not welcome here and they are undesirables, this cannot be right in this day and age. How can we make a judgement they won't contribute to the Worcester Park Community? Yes if there will be an traffic issue lets look at the figures and make the decision. the 400 figure that has been mentioned, may or may not occur once or twice a year. But when ever there is a yearly event anywhere in the area, whether it be fire works in Hook arena, or the London Biathlon we had a few weeks ago that cut down Church Lane, there will be traffic issues. Even Secondary School open evenings cause traffic issues. What is the real motive here ? Are we saying unless you are White/Anglo/Saxon/Protestant you are not welcome here ? There must be a middle ground that can be explored where we get a community centre to be used by all the community, and a place of gathering for the Ismailis. Or get a Community Centre with accommodation/housing above it.

Yes will concede my comments where aggravating, as they where a angry reaction to what was being implied and the tone of comments directed towards me, and my response was not as eloquent as yours. My first comment was a reaction to a comment that said we don't want 400 people coming to your celebration from outside the borough ? So what people are not allowed to Celebrate events any more ? Many years ago, I held my 21st in Manor Park Hall, about 200 people attended and 150 or so did not come from the Borough of Kingston upon Thames. And the MacDonalds comment was a sarcastic comment directed at the anonymous Guest who implied I do not contribute to the community, and the comment 'people would take 'our children's houses and school places'.... I have seen people from all backgrounds playing the school system in this area as we have good schools and all people will do what is best for their children. What does this comment have to do with this proposal and it's completely out of line. The fact is that government statistics show that London's population will grow by another million is 10 years. Lack of school places is a London wide if not national issue. I have lived in this are most of my life, I went to local schools, my children go to local schools. As for the shops I use and have used: Woodward Bros., Waitrose, Iceland, HSBC, Boots, Trutex/Clarkes, pizza express, KFC, Costa coffee, poundland, Centrals , Worcester Spark, Greggs, , the Charity Shops, the Post office, Saisburys local, the green grocers, the florest, Kingfish, Nefis and I've used the Italian place but can't remember the name. I also actively use the Library.

Guest said...

Guest to Rajesh . Your comments in answer to James. Hook Road arena is no where near Worcester Park so,what has that got to do with anything. You still don't get it that nobody is against the Ismaili people , we have Ismaili friends who also feel especially the parking and traffic would be a problem and it was you who brought up the McDonalds argument. Worcester Park is too small an area to accommodate all the extra traffic that this proposal will bring to this area. We are looking out for ourselves with the parking and excess traffic issues.

guest D said...

The green lane Mosque was rejected by the planning officers primarily on the basis of lack of parking, it was found acceptable in all other areas, i.e there was a demonstrable need, the building was suitable for the purpose. I don't know why the Tolworth application was turned down.

If this application goes in, in the form or similar to what has been suggested the planning officers will almost certainly accept it. The councillors who form the planning committee can overturn that but only if they feel that type of development (a community centre) is unsuitable for the area. They can not reject it because it is an Ismali Community centre that would be against the law.

Nimbyism is also not a reason they can take into account.

As I have said before your well reasoned objections need to be well reasoned in terms of planning law, therefore expert advice is desirable, unless you have amongst you an expert in planning law?

guest D said...

Well said Rajesh.

I think a lot of those making these bordeline racist and bigotted comments fail to realise that a) many Ismalis if you passed them in the street, you would think they were WASPs. b) The Aga Kahn, the leader of this group can probably trace his ancestory in this country further back than most (via his maternal grandfather the 3rd Baron Churston) of those objecting.
c) at some point all of us who are either born here or of British parents working overseas keeping the empire going will at some point hit immigrants in ancestors. The furthest back you could trace your ancestory in these isles would be 12,000 years when the country was resettled after the last ice age, Even then that would have been diluted by interbreeding with immigrants.

will hollands said...

Really the size of Tescos ? You pretend you know a bit about planning law, but actually you know very little. People be aware of fables like these, petitions DO count . I work in planning, I should know.

Jacko said...

Green Lane mosque 4000 against and for ......3. Nice history lesson, looking forward the petition coming out this week. Then we will see how many Ismailis live in WP.

keith avenue said...

Hysterical, well let me remind you that within the last year this "mighty" organisation had a planning application rejected by Kingston planning. That was with a petition against of 323. No experts, no large sums of money just plain common sense. Agree with Will petitions do count. Ps I have heard also a petition is coming out this week. Does anyone know where this can be located?

Clarence said...

Be patient. A petition is underway, started Friday PM, response has been very encouraging, parts of lLower Green Gardens/Manor Drive/Mayfair
Ave have been covered plus some other roads.
The above streets are all part of Old Malden Ward for whom David Fraser is the councillor in RBK.
We need HELP, only 3 volunteers are at the moment collecting signatures,
Please if you are able to assist collecting signatures on the Petition contact the above Councillor and I will contact you with forms and streets to cover

Rajesh said...

tyranny of the majority...............

Rajesh said...

I was just giving examples when annual events create Traffic issue.

guest D said...

Let me first state I'm neutral on the conversion of the WP tavern to a community centre. I am pro the WP tavern getting a new lease of life and so wipe out one of the two eyesores at the entrances to Worcester Park, I am also pro the the rule of law. I am very much anti bigotory, racism and discrimination against any minority.

Having said that I am getting very suspicious of the Ismalis, they seem to be orchestrating the no campaign here very succesfully, as I've never seen one which is such a shambles, a case of couldn't even organise a demonstration and so handing the opposition a cheap victory. And now organising a petition against what! No plans have been submitted so you will have to repeat the exercise when they are, that will lose you many signatures on the one that counts (I've already signed it so I don't need to do it again).

Some free advice to running a succesful campaign.

1) Act as one, preferably using an existing group rather than one created for the campaign. The Worcester Park Resident's Association is the ideal vehicle.

2) Don't bother with petitions, remember how Mr Aziz's petition of 350 names was rejected by the opponents because of the multiple names in the same handwriting, this the 'Mickey Mouse' effect means that petitions can be safely ignored. Also ask yourself how many Hospitals have been saved by petitions and how many by legal action over errors in the process.

3) Do write letters to your local councillors, MPs etc including your full name and postal address, anonymous letters count for nothing. But don't use green ink. Emails also count, but carry slightly less weight than a snail mail.

4) Write letters to the editors of the local papers, even the nationals if you feely really strongly and are certain of your case.

5) The most important, wait until the application is made and then make material objections to it on the Kingston Planning Portal or by mail. Objecting to an idea, makes you look like a bunch of bigoted NIMBYs and so reduces the power of your campaign.

6) Reading the planning application and all its accompanying material carefully as this may provide the means to raise a succesful objection. This is where if you are serious as a group you may want to hire expert help.

7) Lastly be very suspicious if the planning application goes in a week before Christmas, that is the favourite time to get a dodgy application through.

carl 12 said...

Petition for WP Tavern is out this week. So far response has been very good, lets keep up rge good work

lauren said...

Haven't seen Many petitions around where can we get them? Willing to help get signatures please reply, thanks

Guest said...

Another serious accident at the junction with the Worcester Tavern with the Malden road last evening, two fire engines two ambulances and a number of police cars in attendance.
The members of the proposed Islami Centre, please don't insult our intelligence that they don't foresee a problem with increased traffic, they should have witnessed the carnage last evening.
Another point addressed to the Islami members, because the blog has gone quiet regarding the protests against the Worcester Park Tavern proposed Islami Centre the residents of Worcester Park are ready to fight.

Guest said...

I totally agree with the last comments, we don't need increased traffic and we certainly do not need an Ismali Centre at the Worcester Park Tavern.
Everyone that I have spoken to in Worcester Park are against this proposal, tempers are still high even after all this time since the consultation, yes I believe that most residents will fight to the bitter end to make sure we do not end up with this unwanted Ismaili Centre.

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