Controversial Bristol Mosque Plans Approved
The plans, submitted to the city council on behalf of the Assahaba Centre in September last year, were criticised by far-right political group the English Defence League (EDL).
The application attracted 23 objections as well as a 388-name petition in support. A further 52 letters of objection – including some believed to have submitted by EDL supporters – were discounted as they were deemed racist.
Some opponents to the move to convert the building into a place of worship said they were worried that a mosque could become a target for attacks by minorities against its new use.
There were also concerns about the look of extensions and alterations proposed for the boarded-up Grade II listed building as well as fears parking and traffic problems would be created on one of the major routes into the city centre.
The decision to give the plans the green light was taken by council planning officers, who agreed the community would benefit from having the landmark building brought back into use.
But the planning report suggested the opening of a mosque in the area could result in community tensions.
The report said concerns had been raised that ‘users of the site are not integrating into the community and that effectively the site isolates itself from the surrounding area’.
The report says: “Whilst community tensions may result from the proposal they are not in themselves sufficient grounds to resist the development.”
It adds: “There are channels and processes in place to tackle and resolve any community tension issues arising from the development and the applicant can be advised of these channels.”
The former Jesters building has been standing empty for almost two years after the club’s owner, David Trew, said the business had become too expensive to operate.
In October last year, the EDL announced plans to hold a protest against the plans in December.
Avon and Somerset police later looked into inflammatory comments advocating an arson attack on the proposed mosque left by people on the EDL Bristol division Facebook page.
In July last year, there were violent clashes in Bristol when the EDL marched through the city centre to protest against what it described as the “Islamification” of Bristol.
Posted on January 7, 2014, in ISLAM IN THE NEWS, MOSQUES and tagged APPROVED, BRISTOL, COMEDY CLUB, COUNCIL, EDL, ISLAM, ISLAMIZATION, JESTERS, MOSQUE, MUSLIM, OBJECTIONS, PLANNING, RACIST. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.