Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Mosque Appeal Today


The appeal against Sutton Council's decision to refuse planning permission for a Mosque in Green Lane starts today.

This will be heard by an inspector at the Sutton Salvation Army Church & Community Centre, Benhill Avenue, Sutton SM1 4DD starting at 10:00am. If you wanted to go you should have contacted Sutton planning dept by now. Details were posted here.

I will be speaking at the appeal so apologies for the recent radio silence - there has been much preparation to do.

Wish us luck...

Update (around 8:30pm)

Phew, that was a long day! Actually we adjourned at around 5pm but if felt long.

I have been reminded by the inspector not the write anything which might prejudice the case so not too many details I'm afraid. However I'm sure I can tell you that the first hour and a half of this morning was spent sorting out official procedure and the bureaucratic stuff: ensuring we had the correct address of the site, information on who would be called as witnesses etc. Only then were the opening statements read out followed by the first witness being called. This witness (for the council) was questioned and then the cross examination lasted for at least two hours. By the time this was finished there was only time for one more witness before we adjourned for the day. There were several adjournments throughout the day.

It looks like I will be speaking first up tomorrow morning...

Update (10th April)

It's not over yet. The case has been adjourned until Thursday the 29th of May. Sorry no update until now, I've been in the city today (meeting with Boris Johnson - more on that later) and had to catch up with numerous other things last night before practically falling asleep at the keyboard...

However, the report from yesterday is that several 'witnesses' spoke (it is just like court case). I was one of four who spoke against the proposal. I spoke for about half an hour which was mostly a written speech with some additional observations regarding points that had been made the day before. I was then cross examined for another half hour or so. (All 'witnesses' have been cross examined to some extent.) Two others spoke for the proposal. In addition two people have spoken on behalf of the LB of Sutton's planning department, whose original recommendation was to reject the proposal - one on Tuesday and one yesterday. I hesitate to go into more detail as it is important not to prejudice an ongoing case.

There will be further details once the case has been decided.


33 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Stewart Mackay Conservative WP said...

a lot of preparation and planning has gone into this. wishing us all luck.

guest D said...

I do hope that this doesn't hinge around some legal technicality (such as the flawed parking survey has to be accepted), that would be the worst result for everyone.

Thanks in advance to all those who have put a considerable amount of effort into this, whatever the result.

jackson said...

I am sure common sense will prevail.It would be nice if Mr Aziz would have the decency to actually turn up as well.Then again he has failed to show up at any other hearings.......

Guest a said...

Why are you so against the mosque if it serves a significant service to a portion of the community.

guest D said...

There are some people opposed to any mosque in Worcester Park, but they are in the minority. The majority oppose this application for the same reasons that the council rejected it, that the location is unsuitable for the purpose of mass assembly.

i.e. it has no on site parking and is located at a busy junction.

Guest a said...

Which other local mosques are there in the worcestor park area or local to worcestor park residents

Wake up Guest a said...

There's no 'if' about it: It won't - the badly botched first application itself proved that, with the stated intention of hijacking the Waitrose car park, every day, 5 times per day.

And the second application was a desperate attempt to deny anyone would travel there by car. The fake 'green' veneer, claiming everybody from miles away would walk there convinced nobody except the incredibly naïve.

However, after having had the application refused, the applicant ignored both the ruling and planning law and utilised the building as they saw fit: And this should have been the point at which even the aforementioned 'incredibly naïve' should have woken up!

Jack said...

Who is Mr Aziz

Gino said...

We need to encourage future community projects
that are open to benefit all.
Not only a portion ,what kind of calculation
is that as a base for planning ?
At the end of this saga ,let's hope we will
raise our glass to common sense.
The majority matters and that's what counts.
Gino.

Jack said...

There is Mr Aziz who owns the ugly tower block outside Colliers Wood stn which has been subject to a lot of controversy, and the new mosque under the Merton Council offices (used to be a pub) also has connections with Balham, Tooting and Kingston Mosques

Four said...

There are I believe four Mosques within an acceptable radius of Worcester Park.

Wake up Guest a said...

And most - if not all the existing, local mosques, have a convenient, on-site car park.

Perhaps Guest a can tell us why they would wish to switch from an existing, local mosque and drive to one Worcester Park, where the is no car park at the end of their journey?

[Note: their spelling of 'worcestor park' suggests they are not local and/or have a very limited knowledge of this locality].

bazza said...

Time to show your face Mr Aziz, the game is up..........

guest D said...

I realise that you are very limited in what you can say. But can you let us know why it has been adjourned to a later date? Was it insufficient time allowed by the inspector, or was it following a request from one of the parties?

Worcester Park Blogger said...

After noting how many people were going to speak and how long cross examinations were likely to take it was strongly suspected on Tuesday that we would not get through it all in two days. On Wednesday morning, with the addition of more speakers (and even without) it became quite clear we would not get through everything by the end of the day. In fact it was realised that Thursday the 29th is going to be a 'long day', starting at 9am (as opposed to 10) and probably sitting quite late in order to finish.

So while it could be argued that insufficient time was allowed initially, it would have been hard to gauge, certainly at the time of booking facilities how long the appeal would take. And of course it is quite a normal thing to extend the time like this where necessary.

guest D said...

Thanks for the information, I wasn't intending to suggest that the inspector was in anyway at fault. Just trying to see if any party had requested an ajournment for further evidence gathering.

jackson said...

I wonder if Mr Aziz will then leave Worcester Park once the decision is made?

Alex said...

He doesn't need to leave it - he just needs to leave it alone!

Worcester park High Street is an outer bottleneck and Green Lane is an inner bottleneck within that outer bottleneck - it is, without doubt, the worst possible place for Mr. Aziz (or anyone else) to choose to have a mosque/church/bingo hall/cinema etc without a car park. And especially as the intention is for visitors to drive in and park somewhere off-radar and invisible, five times-a-day.

Mind you, thanks to the misguided decisions of the Sutton Outer London Fund, it now takes an extra 10 minutes to cover a residential detour, to get from the car park to the previously directly accessible and adjacent Central Road. So Mr. Aziz's plans are probably still only the second-worst decision in KT4!

Chris said...

Can anyone tell me who has paid for all of the planning appeals including the cost of council employees and venues etc and at what point does rejected mean rejected?

Gino said...

When the first one runs out of chips ,sorry
money and leaves the table s o rry again
appeal ?
Of course in the meantime ,many are at odds
struggling to manage high council tax demands.
Many people plunged into hardship due
due to council tax cost of living.
A community project ?

jackson said...

Will Mr Aziz foot the bill if the appeal fails? Also will he apologise to the people of Green Lane for the disgusting state he has left this building? He does not live too far away to sort this out or even better sell it to someone who cares about Worcester Park.Remember Mr Aziz 4000 people signed a petition against this proposal.Many of these are people that live by you.He will not even show his face at any of these meetings, think its time to for Mr Aziz to be exposed to everyone ..........



.




Alex said...

I suggest that at the moment, we simply and respectfully allow the appeal to run to completion and not allow frustration to prompt us to write something on the blog that the elusive Mr. Aziz (or more likely, his hired hands) can manipulate and utilise to their advantage.

On the one hand, the local community (overwhelmingly) and local community representatives (unanimously) have twice spoken on behalf of our local community and twice come to a wise, reasonable and balanced decision.

And on the other, for the third time, Mr. Aziz has hired guns pursuing his personal agenda, for the benefit of a few, whose addresses mostly aren't even local. And this agenda will compromise and disadvantage the entire town and its community - all day, every day.

It certainly doesn't sound a very hard decision, but admittedly I'm not an expert on planning appeals. I am certainly keen that the entire appeal process is fully completed and seen to faithfully adhere to appeal policies and procedures - however long it takes.

[I'm also hoping that this time, whatever the outcome, Mr. Aziz actually respects the Inspector's decision].

guest said...

Why does Mr Aziz keep a low profile. I think its time to find out more about this character. Does anyone know him? I have been told he lives in Worcester park.

guest D said...

As all governments have decreased the power of councils to stop developments, they have also decreased the costs to the developer.

What I think happens is; the cost of the appeal (inspector, venue etc) will be paid for by the DOE (i.e. by the taxpayers, us).

If Sutton council wins Mr Aziz will pay his costs, Sutton Council will pay their costs. And there will be a new application slightly changed from Mr Aziz or he will set up a House Mosque (a Mosque in a residential property), which will (after the current Governments changes) only need building consent.

If Mr Aziz wins he can sue Sutton council for his appeal costs and the cost of hiring a building in the meantime, and the cost of the lease from the point the planning application was first heard.

It is about time Central Government restored some power to Local Goverment.

Guest F said...

Disappointed in Blogger's presentation.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

If you're going to criticise me, please have the decency to do it openly using your real name Lynette. I don't remember seeing you at the hearing, whereabouts were you sitting?


I had several people come up to me afterwards to say what a good job I had done, particularly on dealing with points raising the previous day and when dealing with the cross examination questions. I'm sorry if you felt 'disappointed'.


I note you have only ever commented on the blog once before and that was to claim it "Badly needs change of author." Are you by any chance a Lib Dem activist?

VR said...

I've heard that Inspector is going to visit the site (Green Lane / Bank Chambers) during this hearing in May. However, i believe it's half term and the volume of traffic will be inadequate to the one during normal school days. Shouldn't such a visit take place during term time?

Mrs Rabbetts said...

15.4.2.14 Would you please be able to let me know why the meeting has been adjourned and will the general public be invited to THE FINAL MEETING

guest said...

I would like to know why the meeting was adjourned as well and also will the general public be allowed to the final meeting.I am concerned as to why such clear a cut case has to be adjourned, i smell something fishy going on....
Also if the ridiculous does happen and this gets approval can we appeal the decision.
Would also seem like a good idea to have a public protest outside the building say 5 times a day! Bear in mind the protesters would all be local and would not cause any traffic issues! Over to you Mr Aziz

guest D said...

The system has been rigged to get planning applications through, so unless you have incredibly deep pockets no appeal can be made on the inspector's decision.


You could protest but if more than a very few people (i.e. less than around 5) it would require permission from the Police, it would have to be peaceful and could not obstruct access to the building.



So in other words if Mr Aziz wins we are stuffed.


The blogger may or may not be able to answer your other questions, but remember he could be found in contempt if he says too much.

guest said...

I do not think we have to worry too much about this.I have been looking at similar cases and generally they are declined.There is still insufficient evidence for any reason to approve this proposal.Unless Mr Aziz has come up with some new evidence which is unlikely it is doomed.Also we to remember that parking and traffic are an issue which he seems to ignore . Part of me would like it to be approved then he would actually find out for himself the problems we have raised.People will turn up with nowhere to park and eventually be put off.

guest D said...

I hope you're right, but there is a chance that the inspector may believe the second 'Green' everyone will cycle or use public transport Mosque application and decide that the Council didn't give it due consideration.

GUEST said...

Does anyone still remember how Mr Aziz started this application? Well it all began about 2 years ago when his first application was for a 'community centre'. The blog, (may be found on archives) then questioned why he had a website advertising the building as Surreys new home for Islam.The website was immediately closed down and Mr Aziz declined to comment. On the website were contact numbers asking for donations towards the proposal. As Mr Aziz had claimed this would be a community centre i contacted him to see if he would he be interested in helping a couple of local sports groups, ie football teams etc.He put the phone down on me.He will keep changing the application until he gets what he wants.He uses the building illegally now anyway,everyone locally knows that, while the council decide to ignore it.I agree with the comments so far,time to expose Mr Aziz NOW.

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