Fresh bid launched to convert former furniture warehouse into Muslim community centre
08:18 18 June 2014
New plans for a community centre for East Cambridgeshire’s Muslim population were submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council this week.
Shair Choudhury, of the Ely Muslim Association, has applied to convert part of a warehouse, in Chettisham Business Park, into a community and education centre.
An earlier application, submitted in December last year, was withdrawn in April, the applicants said, on the advice of planning officers because a number of queries raised about the plans could not be “satisfactorily addressed”.
In a new submission to the council, the applicants said: “For cultural and religious affairs the community must travel as far as Cambridge which causes hardship and inconvenience and this has emphasised the need for a more local facility.
“For Friday prayers, a dance classroom has been hired on an hourly basis at the Paradise Centre in Ely and, whilst gratitude is given to the management of the centre, the space has been found to be unsuitable for the act of worship.
“However, a place for prayer is not the only requirement and there are many activities which the leaders would like to undertake to support the wider community.”
The applicants are proposing that the centre should be open from 9am-9pm every day of the week from October to April and from 9am-11pm every day of the week from May to September.
A previous application for a community centre attracted criticism from neighbours of the site, who said that the site was not suitable for pedestrians and the increased amount of vehicle traffic.
But, in response to those concerns, the applicants have said: “It is acknowledged that the proposed community centre will be located within a busy business park. However, it may be argued that this situation is no different to any other location where motor traffic is present and the main access roads are sufficiently wide to allow even the largest of vehicles to pass easily.”
A decision on the plans is expected within the next eight weeks. To view the plans, or to have a say, visit www.eastcambs.gov.uk