We get lots of messages about illegal mosques. Really they are quite simple to deal with :-
Check your facts. Put the address into the planning application search of your local council ,and see what comes up. Also check the UK mosque directories (take screenshots to use as evidence)
Is the use illegal ? All buildings have a use class , what is the premises currently registered as ? Normally a shop or a restaurant. All explained here:-
The correct class for a mosque is D1.
Get some evidence. A few photos of worshippers entering and leaving is normally enough , also photograph any signs/posters/timetables in the window.
AT NO POINT SHOULD YOU RISK YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY , if confronted and threatened…DIAL 999 FOR THE POLICE. It is not illegal to photograph anything or anyone from the public highway (without their consent). Be careful not to get any photographs of minors in your evidence (that could land you in trouble)
Contact Planning Enforcement. A short email explaining that you are reporting a planning breach , and asking them to investigate and enforce (attach your photos).
Keep sending your email until you get a response , and a case number. The investigation may take a month , enforcement will contact you with the results.
If a warning letter is sent to the property owner , it will give them up to 28 days to stop the illegal use. Go back and check a month later , if the warning has been ignored report it again.
If the owners continue to ignore the enforcement notices , they may find themselves in court…so keep at it. “Failure to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence. An enforcement notice is a notice requiring compliance with planning consent. If the notice is upheld, the penalty for failure to comply is a fine of up to £20,000 on summary conviction or an unlimited fine on indictment”.
An enforcement sometimes triggers a planning application , so stay vigilant. We can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help.