The Windsor Muslim Association has vowed to appeal to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government after the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead refused planning permission for a new mosque in the town for a second time.
An application to build a mosque in a residential area by the River Thames was defeated by five votes to four in a council planning meeting last night.
The reasons for denying the application were that:
- The site would harm the Greenbelt.
- It would create more traffic on an already busy highway.
- It would cause noise pollution and disturbance to neighbours.
- It would be out of character with the residential area.
The council’s planning officer, Hayden Richardson, said there were no special circumstances to outweigh the harm of the development.
But despite his recommendation several councillors backed the proposal and said unreasonable objections had been put forward by local residents to thwart the planned new mosque.
Ex councillor George Bathurst said the new mosque would have been a “fantastic new resource” for the small Muslim community in the area and would not involve major development of the site.
Another councillor said the mosque would be an essential amenity for dozens of people only.
But local resident Richard Endacott said the proposal had caused the kind of anxiety among residents that he hadn’t seen in 40 years. He said their objections were not based on race or religion but rather because of the effect the new mosque would have on the Greenbelt and the noise and pollution it would create.
Mohammed Arif, of Windsor Muslim Assoociation, said he was very disappointed by the result and that councillors had exaggerated the effects the new mosque would have on the local area.
He said he felt the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government would approach the proposal unencumbered by local politics. He estimated a final decision would be made within three months.