The Ely Muslim Association unveils plans for community centre in Chettisham

16:30 15 January 2014

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham


A warehouse in Chettisham could become a community centre for the district’s Muslim population under plans submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council this week.

The Ely Muslim Association currently meets and prays at the Paradise Centre in Ely, but the group has been on the lookout for a more permanent home in the city for a number of years.

Under plans submitted to the district council this week, the group has outlined its desire to convert part of Aquarius Furniture, in Chettisham Business Park, into a community centre.

In a statement to planners, the group said: “The Muslim community is aware that potentially this application could become controversial but is hoped that the proposal will not cause any adverse issues with the relationship with adjoining users and occupants and that the change of use to this building will be acceptable.

“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, currently, for cultural and religious affairs the local Muslim population had to travel to Cambridge, which, it said, caused “hardship and inconvenience” and emphasised the need for a more local facility.

It said: “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.”

The group added that, as well as prayers, the centre would be serve as a meeting place for Muslims of all ages and genders, a space to provide and facilitate educational, social and recreational activities and a space in which to celebrate religious and cultural festivals.

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

And the group said it was keen for the proposed development to act as “An information centre to illustrate the Muslim beliefs with the wider community to lead to a better understanding of Islam in the current environment of mistrust.”

A decision is expected on the plans within the next eight weeks. To view the plans, or to have a say, visit


  • I dont see why there is ANY need for this change of Use.Plenty of Mosques elewhere we dont need any more!

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    Andy Mullins

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • The application is utter tosh. It`s not a "community centre" its a mosque. There is no travel plan , and the site is pretty large. I estimate it can hold over 200 worshippers...where will they park , there are only about 20 spaces onsite. I guess they`ll spill out onto Lynn Rd. And why have East Cambs Council only consulted the adjoining businesses...are the local residents not important enough to be consulted. If the worshippers are from Ely...put the mosque there , not Chettisham !

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    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • So the Paradise Centre they have used for years is suddenly not suitable? Sounds to me like they are trying to create a private enclave where no-one can overhear exactly what is being preached.

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    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

  • You could register and objection Geoffrey....just like I did.

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    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Reading the application they have said the Paradise Centre was never suitable for acts of worship. For example not enough room for ladies to attend to celebrate festivals. It seems they also want to use the space for ' to provide and facilitate educational, social and recreational activities' and as 'an information centre to illustrate the Muslim beliefs with the wider community to lead to a better understanding of Islam in the current environment of mistrust.' It is refreshing to read this. And furthermore, I think both Saint Etheldreda and Oliver Cromwell would be the first ones to welcome such an initiative. Why are people so cynical about everything these days,not just religion, I wonder?

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    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • I wonder what the late Saint Etheldreda would say were she still around. Come to that, I wonder what the late and great Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell would say were he still around. As I say, I wonder: I only wonder, for one can do no more than wonder nowadays.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

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