Basildon Residents Win A Fine Victory

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Great news from Basildon in Essex. Local residents have successfully opposed and defeated plans to open a mosque on an industrial estate.

The applicants had been using the site without permission , something they described as a “trial period”…..we call it breaking the law !  The applicant Brother Sarwar (pictured at top), claimed  “It is not a mosque. All this will be is an education centre. It is an Islamic centre for British and cultural studies” A simple look at the application form tells a different story.

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Thankfully the Case Officer was not fooled. The decision to refuse cited “the loss of potential employment generating premises” , which is contrary to local council policies and NPPF. Most of the objections related to the same reason , and also road safety and parking problems

The application also attracted the attention of a local UKIP councilor . Kerry Smith, who leads the party’s group on Basildon Council, said he felt Buckwins Square was not the correct location for any religious building.

He said “The council has been quite understanding and the applicants already have a place at Vange Hill Drive. The application was made because there were complaints to the council that the building in Buckwins Square had been used during Ramadan without permission, with a lot of vehicles parked in the area and all the parking bays taken. The site is meant for business use and you would be taking that away and the jobs”.  Worst of all, what would happen if everyone was at prayer and a child ran out into the path of a lorry?” Well said councilor !!

Lorries And Worshipers Don`t Mix !

 

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A worrying new trend is emerging. There have been three recent mosque applications based on industrial estates. The attraction is clear , no local residents who will object and a cheap large unit to rent or buy.

It first came to our attention last year , when we reported on a withdrawn planning application in Chettisham , Ely.

https://mosqueblock.wordpress.com/2014/04/

 

What is obvious , is that you`ll need a slightly different strategy to fight these application.

1. SAFETY , SAFETY , SAFETY.

The close proximity of worshipers (and possibly children) is your trump card. Check out the other users of the industrial estate , do any of them operate HGV`s or heavy plant machines ?  You might want to drop a line to the Health and Safety Executive (if they haven`t been consulted).

https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/lfserver/external/concern1

Also consider contacting the Highways Agency.

http://www.highways.gov.uk/about-us/contact-us/

Don`t forget to use the planning application reference.

 

2. LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT LAND.

Does the area have a high level of unemployment ? Does the local council have a section in their Core Strategy about protecting employment land ? Has a business been run on the site within the last 5 years. These are all points you can use.

 

3. PARKING.

Our favorite old chestnut , work out the capacity…..0.5m2 per person (you`ll find the dimensions on the planning application form).  A recent application in Essex , has 8 parking spaces for a capacity of 500+

4. TRAFFIC GENERATION..

Most industrial parks are out of town , with poor transport links….meaning that worshipers will have to drive. This will of course generate extra traffic and disturbance on local roads.

 

 

If you need help , email us at savetheoak@hotmail.co.uk