Community centre plans are withdrawn by religious group amid safety concerns

08:57 01 May 2014

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

Archant

Plans to convert a warehouse in Chettisham into a community centre for the district’s Muslim population have been temporarily withdrawn.

Back in January, the Ely Muslim Association submitted plans to East Cambridgeshire District Council to convert part of Aquaris Furniture, in Chettisham Business Park, into a community centre.

The group currently meet and pray at the Paradise Centre, in Ely, but has been on the look out for a more permanent home in the city for a number of years. In a statement to planners, the group said: “The proposal presents an economically viable opportunity to create a meeting place for a community of approximately 60 to 65 people from a catchment area on Ely, Soham, Littleport and the surrounding villages and will increase the potential for increased cooperation with the non-Muslim population.”

The group said that the centre would also assist with research and IT facilities for accessing services including health, employment and housing.

But the application drew criticism from neighbours of the warehouse on the business park, who said the site was wholly unsuitable for the added traffic and pedestrians who would be using the area.

Pope Family Properties, which helped set up the estate in the 1980s, told the council: “The applicant states a minimum of 65 members, of all ages, would visit the centre on a regular basis and I would be concerned for their safety at this very busy industrial estate.”

In response to the concerns of neighbours, the association decided to withdraw its plans while a “new, revised application” is prepared.

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