A petition has been launched by local residents in Bromley protesting against a church being converted into a mosque.
More than 50 people have signed the document entitled ‘Rejection of Planning Permission to expand the Al-Emaan Muslim Centre on Croydon Road, Keston to accommodate 200 visitors on the grounds of road traffic & safety’.
Permission is not needed to convert the church into a mosque, as both are designated places of worship.
Proposals for the site include turning it into a community centre, with a planning application submitted to the council in December.
This is for the addition of a mezzanine floor and a single-storey extension.
Plans show an extra four parking spaces bringing the total on site to 13, sparking traffic and parking fears in the area.
Longdon Wood resident Peter Davenport said: “It’s a busy junction, and it’s a main road. The traffic is going to be horrendous.
“There are only so many bays within the mosque area so we think they will park all over the place.”
“I have submitted a complaint to the council.”
But Dr Taha, co-managing director of the Al-Emaan Centre, has lived in Keston for nearly 30 years.
He confirmed they have no plans to alter the outside of the building nor have any form of broadcasts.
He said: “We actually opened it up for use from October – December 2014, and were having daily prayers five times a day, youth activities, as well as events for ladies, gentlemen, and the whole family.
“Despite these activities there didn’t seem to be any disturbance to the local neighbourhood and no complaints were raised at all – in fact I’m not sure if anyone even realised we were there!
“We do have plans for safety and congestion reduction measures, and also plan to have yellow jacketed wardens on site if it appears that the site might get busy in order to help ease any potential congestion and ensure safety for all on the roads and at the junction.
“We want to work together with the Council, TFL and our neighbours to ensure that we can help ease congestion and maintain safety.
“We have considered the concerns and are more than happy to meet and discuss any worries and questions you may have.”
The British National Party staged a demonstration against the plans outside the mosque on Saturday (March 15).
The right wing group of around 15 held banners and handed out leaflets.
Stephen Squire, London organiser for the BNP, said: “It’s not being viewed as positive by the local community.
“There are less than two per cent in that ward of people who are of that religious persuasion.
“They [mosques] don’t belong here. The BNP aren’t against mosques, we like mosques but in Muslim countries.”
Bromley Council said: “We will assess this application carefully and consider the planning merits before making our decision in the usual way.”
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