Government rejects plans to turn former Dagenham post office into mosque
- Credit: Archant
Plans to create a permanent mosque in an old Dagenham post office have been rejected by the government.
An application to change the now-empty shop at 539 Rainham Road to a “community/cultural centre” was denied by Barking and Dagenham Council last year, but an appeal was lodged days later.
Between a sandwich shop and a fast-food restaurant, the building had been used as a trial worship centre for 12 months from July 2012.
However, with various restrictions limiting roadside parking, an inspector for the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Timothy King, dismissed the appeal on grounds of road safety and access.
The change, he said, “would give rise to a level of traffic generation and resultant on-street parking demand, prejudicial to the free flow of traffic and harmful to highway safety”.
You may also want to watch:
Murad Haider, 36, director of Group Cars, a few doors down, launched a petition last year to save the mosque.
“Parking wasn’t really an issue because there’s so much space on the surrounding side roads,” he said. “The majority of people walked anyway.
- 1 Woman brightens up Barking and Dagenham with colourful crochet creations
- 2 Staff to strike at primary school in Dagenham
- 3 Appeal for help as girl, 17, reported missing from Dagenham
- 4 Three men found stabbed after alleged brawl in Dagenham
- 5 Bobby Moore's daughter visits Upney buildings to be named after footballers
- 6 'Strong, united community' hailed as plans for hotel in Barking withdrawn
- 7 TfL admits wrongly charging supercar driver almost £1k in emission fees
- 8 Walk-in Covid-19 jab events for all adults to be held in Barking
- 9 Woman organises do after Covid-19 restrictions force school in Dagenham to cancel prom
- 10 Exhibition launches to celebrate 100 years of Becontree Estate
“It’s not the end of the world because we’ve been provided with other places to worship instead, but they’re much harder for elderly people to get to.”
The centre had a membership of under 100 and no more than 50 were expected at any one time.
Tariq Baig, 48, owner of Toho Motors and a neighbour of Mr Haider, described it as “a sad decision”.
“There are quite a few churches around here but no mosque,” he said, “so we have to drive elsewhere.
“It ultimately comes down to a lack of a big Muslim community here and a lack of integration.”
But not everyone was disappointed by the decision.
Mr Harrison, 72, who lives a few doors down and declined to give his first name, told the Post: “It’s just not a suitable area and there isn’t enough parking.”
A council spokesperson said: “The council is sympathetic to the difficulties community groups can face in finding suitable premises.
“However, in this instance, the council was concerned about the impact on highway safety, an issue that had also been raised by local residents, and is satisfied the inspector upheld our original decision.”
Landmark ruling secures future of Dagenham’s Fanshawe Community Centre‘Sad day’: NUT praises Warren School in academy row after court bid rejectedPothole petition calls on Government to save Barking and Dagenham streets