Category Archives: How To Fight Applications.

How To Fight Mosque Planning Applications 101- Chapter Five…….What Happens Next ?

Welcome the final page.

If you lost at the Planning Hearing , there`s not much you can do ! You have no right of appeal , and unless you have 30k to fund a Judicial Review (and have evidence that the council acted illegally)…it`s over. Lick your wounds , have a pint and get ready for the next fight ! One positive note is that the applicants only have 3 years to start the work , after that they must reapply….so keep watching the site.

If you won at the Planning Hearing…congratulations !! Once you have sobered up , you should be aware that the applicants can appeal or resubmit !

Planning appeals are heard by the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol (and gets assigned a new reference number). The Inspectorate can over turn your council`s decision (don`t assume they will). Normally the applicants would have up to 5 months to start this process , and it may take 7 months or more to conclude. Keep monitoring the council website for details of any appeals , or you could phone the Planning Department. If it does go to appeal , you can then comment or write to the Case Officer in Bristol. Use your facebook page to publicise the appeal.


Be warned that the Planning Inspectorate website is crap , and antiquated

Very occasionally the applicants may resubmit. The new application must be significantly different to previous submissions , the Planning Officers are very strict. So keep checking the Planning Applications.

Well done for seeing it through to the end. It`s a great feeling when you win , and shit when you lose. You may have to chalk a few up to experience , but it`s worth it !

Good luck !!


How To Fight Mosque Planning Applications 101- Chapter Four…….The Planning Hearing.

Well done for reaching this stage !

Once the agenda is announced , you`ll need to do a bit of prep work:-

  • Register your speaker(s) with the Democratic Services Officer.
  • Help write the speeches , remember you may only get 2 minutes….so make sure all the key points get included.
  • It`s considered to be disrespectful to the Chair if you over run , so a few timed rehearsals are always a good idea.
  • Do not include non planning objections…especially race or religion !
  • Consider speaking to the local press before the hearing , but try not to give the applicants too much info about your objections.
  • Study the Case Officers report , you may have to shoot down some of their arguments ! Here`s an example.

It`s a public hearing , so get plenty of people there….the applicants will. At a number of recent hearings , the applicants have tried to intimidate speakers and supporters. Make sure your speakers are safe!


Normally the Case Officer will speak first , followed by the:-

  • Objectors.
  • The applicant or his agent.
  • Local councilors , who have an unlimited time to speak.

The Planning Committee will then discuss the case , and vote. The decision will be approve or refuse.

Hopefully you`ll get the right result , unless you are able to fund a Judicial Review….you have no right of appeal (unlike the applicant).

How To Fight Mosque Planning Applications 101- Chapter Three……Your Case


Well done for getting this far. Keep plugging your Facebook page , and keep plugging the objections.

You`ll need to now start thinking about a more detailed case to present to the council. Once the application has been closed online , the council will review all the objections and the Planning Officer will compile a report and recommend refusal or approval. If you`ve done your job well (and people have objected) , the case will be referred to the Planning Committee….and you`ll get the chance to put your case at a public hearing.

The usual favourites to concentrate on are parking and disturbance to residents.

Do your research , have a walk around the site. And talk to a number of local residents.

Things you need to consider :-

Where would worshipers park ?
Is there any onsite parking ?
How many will attend ?
And at what times of the day ?

You`ll find this info on the council site attached to the application. Look for the Design and Access Statement ,the Travel Plan and comments from the Highways Agency. Have a good read of these  documents , you`ll find some outright lies and inconsistencies. Point these out to the council.

Also consider :-

How close are residential properties ?
What impact could the mosque have on local businesses ?
Are there any other mosques nearby , is it even really needed ?
If it`s being described as a “community centre” are there any other community facilities nearby ?
What are local transport links like ? Buses , trains etc.
Does the development take away commercial or employment potential.

Also have a look at the councils Local Plan or Core Strategy. You might find local regulations relating to the area surrounding the site. Do your homework !!

The applicants at the West Ham Megamosque claimed that virtually no one would arrive by private car. If this were true , the local transport network would’ve collapsed. Clearly a huge porky pie !

Encourage all local residents to write/email their local councillors. There may be more than one per ward. It`s important to get them involved , since they can also speak at the Planning Hearing.

Be prepared for a longish wait before you are notified of the application reaching the agenda for the Planning Committee , it can take months. In the waiting period , that’s the time to do your on street petitions. You`ll need to keep checking the council websites for the agenda , because you`ll need to get someone registered to speak on your behalf. The agenda is normally published a week before the Planning Committee meeting.

Next job is to find a brave soul to speak at the Planning Hearing. Some councils allow more than one speaker , you can check with the Democratic Services Officer. Your speaker will have to register with the Democratic Services Officer , once your application is on the agenda for the Planning Committee.

Good luck at the hearing !! Go to Chapter Four.

How To Fight Mosque Planning Applications 101- Chapter Two……Getting Started.

clacton front may 30

Once the application has been accepted and published online by the council , you`ll need to get busy quickly.

The application may well be a “change of use” , meaning that it`s a building being used for a different purpose at present. All buildings are categorised by use:-

Most mosque applications are now being described as a “D1 Community/Islamic Cultural/Education Centre “. Don`t be fooled by this , once the D1 permission is granted it can be used primarily as a Place of Worship without reapplying (unless the council passes it with conditions that it cannot be used for worship)

A coordinated approach is best , I recommend using free social media sites. Set up a Facebook page or Twitter account , and organise some admins to run it. You will always attract the racist elements , just ban them and delete any inappropriate comments. You are local residents and it`s a local issue , don`t get sidetracked by politics or other stuff going on. Your Facebook page should just be used to give the local residents the info they need to object.

Ignore epetitions and paper petitions in the first instance , the only thing that defeats planning applications are OBJECTIONS FROM LOCAL RESIDENTS.

Objections can be registered online (the councils are only obliged to run this option for 21 days) , by email or in writing. Normally you can still object in writing or by email , up until the day of the Planning Hearing. Objections may be made by anyone, regardless of whether they were consulted individually. Although immediate neighbours carry the most weight. You can object about:

  • Loss of light or overshadowing.
  • Overlooking or loss of privacy.
  • Visual appearance (for example, design, appearance and materials).
  • Layout and density of buildings.
  • Traffic generation, highway safety or adequacy of parking.
  • Noise, smells and disturbance resulting from use.
  • Loss of trees.
  • Effect on listed buildings or conservation areas.
  • Relevant planning policies (for example, government policy statements, the London Plan, the local development plan and supplementary planning guidance). Check out your council`s Core Strategy.
  • Is the application on Green Belt or designated Stratetegic Development land ?

The one`s in bold are your best arguments.


It`s not a bad idea to print up some flyers or leaflets , and deliver them by hand to the immediate neighbours to the site. You may only need to do 500 or so. You should include a link to your Facebook page , and details about the application (and the reference number)….and why they should object. You can also include all the contact details for the council , and explain how to object. Include details of how objectors can contact their local councillors , since you will also need them working on your behalf. MP`s are not worth bothering with , they will just refer you back to the council.

Your first target is to get at least 20 objections , which should be enough to be deemed as “significant public interest”. This takes the decision out of the hands of the Planning Officers , and you`ll get to present your case to the Planning Committee (sometimes called the Development Control Board) at a public hearing. The Planning Officer will still prepare a report , and make a recommendation (refuse/approve). Don`t assume that’s the final decision. Planning Committee`s quite often vote against the Planning Officers recommendation.

In Chapter Three we`ll show you how to compile the case for refusal.

How To Fight Mosque Applications 101 – Chapter One…..Finding Out


Most applications are missed by locals. Borough councils only have a minimal statutory duty to inform immediate neighbours. It`s probably fair to say that a number of applications have sneaked through unannounced , which would suit the applicants. The definition of “neighbours” varies from council to council , but never extends more than a couple of hundred metres from the site.

Local papers are often a good source of info , they sometimes publicise plans for applications months in advance. Probably a good idea to start making plans , but you`ll need to watch for when the planning application is formally submitted before you start getting busy.

Council planning sites are easy to access. You can search by keyword , address or view weekly list. You can also phone the Planning Department , they are obliged to talk to you…and are governed by the Freedom Of Information Act. But be polite , they are only doing a very boring job ! Here`s an example

The sites will be either Simple Search (SS) or Weekly Lists (WL).

The Simple Search are easiest , just type in “D1” or “D1 Community Centre” and it`ll show you any applications for the D1 category (which covers mosques). The most recent will be at the top.

Weekly Lists are harder , you`ll need to select the current week …and read through the lot , but only Applications Registered. Look for “Change Of Use” , and anything that mentions D1 or Islamic. Some pages you have to set a search period.

New applications are published on Friday afternoon

Local intelligence is also useful , but beware of false rumours !

How To Fight Mosque Planning Applications 101- Introduction


Welcome to the page. I`ve set out to write a simple guide to fighting mosque planning applications. Too many go through unopposed , and unnoticed. Once the application is approved , there is very little you can do….unless you have 30k to fund a Judicial Review in the High Court.

The key to winning is prompt action , and getting bodies on the streets……and I don`t mean flash demos. You will be dealing with Planning Officers and Planning Committee`s , small flash demo`s do very little to help. It should not be your first option.

Small groups of local residents can successfully take on applications and win , and it doesn`t cost a fortune to do ! One local campaign I helped with cost just £20.00 in printing costs , and we won !

I`ll split the various stages into sections , use them as reference guide to help your campaign. Don`t be intimidated by the council websites , and letter writing – I`ll include some template letters you can use.

I`m not a planning lawyer ,  all my info comes from my own research.  I spent many hours in the public gallery at Planning Hearings. Everything you read here is achievable with half a dozen volunteers , and a facebook page !