When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Protest against Blackburn ‘terrace house mosque’
COUNCILLORS are set to tell a mosque in Blackburn to move out of a terrace house after objections from neighbours.
The town’s MP Jack Straw has backed objectors to an application for retrospective planning consent for the place of worship above the Ashrafi Study Centre Madrassah, in Accrington Road, Audley.
He has told Blackburn with Darwen planning committee that using terraced houses as mosques was no longer necessary, or appropriate, to allow Muslims to practise their faith.
Farooq Mohammed has been operating an Islamic school at the premises with planning permission since July 2009 for 75 pupils, between 5pm and 7.30pm.
In August last year he submitted a retrospective application to use the whole building as a mosque, which was withdrawn in January because of noise and highway safety concerns.
In July, he submitted a new retrospective proposal to use just the first floor as a mosque, with an estimated maximum 25 worshippers at lunchtime Friday Prayers, and three to five for other worship occasions, between 4.30am and 11pm.
Following objections from neighbours to its existing use as a mosque, from Mr Straw, and from Father Martin Daniels, of nearby St Jude’s Church, the application will be decided by the committee tomorrow.
Officers have recommended refusal on the grounds of noise and disturbance to neighbours.
Mr Straw wrote to the committee: “In the 1970s the developing Asian community needed to use terraced houses for the early madrassahs and mosques but now, in 2012, surely the community is well developed enough to have got past this?
“There are well-funded and well-established mosques in many parts of the town.”
Mr Mohammed’s agent Vika Lukman, of Compass Architectural Consultants, said: “We have no comment to make.”