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.