A furniture warehouse in a busy business park is hardly an ideal location for a Place Of Worship and Community Centre. The Ely Muslim Association currently meets and prays at the Paradise Centre in Ely, but the group have been on the lookout for a more permanent home in the city for a number of years.
Plans were submitted in January 2014 to convert part of Aquarius Furniture, in Chettisham Business Park, into a community centre.
Companies based on the Chettisham Business Park ( just outside Ely) lodged formal objections to plans to convert the former Aquarius Furniture warehouse on the business park into a community and prayer centre.
The group wanted to turn a 280 square-metre area inside the warehouse into a meeting point for local muslim families where they can worship and celebrate religious activities and cultural festivals. They claimed that only 60-65 people would attend , but the capacity is closer to 300. There are just 19 onsite parking spaces , and there is very little in the way of public transport locally. In total the site is a whopping 716 square metres , and the internal layout looks suitable for redesign….that would take the capacity to over 1,000.
However , they clearly failed to check the plans and boundaries-and included a number of access points that are not part of the proposed site. The Highways Agency also had issues with parking , trip generation and access to the site from a busy “A” road.
But firms based on the business park said that the development, if approved, would be an “accident waiting to happen”.
The owner of Ely Removal Service, said: “I rent the storage unit next door to where this proposed site would be situated and the access to this centre would be the same access we use to transport large and heavy pieces of furniture constantly during our working day.
“Another key factor is the loading bay situated close to the steps. This loading bay is used by heavy forklift trucks/pallet trucks; another case for alarm is when it comes to pedestrian access, especially children. It would be an accident waiting to happen.”
After a long delay (for a spot of legal arguments) , the application has been withdrawn……hopefully never to appear again !!