Council bosses set to approve £400,000 community centre for Ely Muslims
PUBLISHED: 17:50 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:50 02 January 2020
A house in Ely looks set to be demolished to build a £400,000 community centre despite fears of parking problems, noise and litter.
Ely Muslims want to transform the rundown terrace house in Broad Street into a place to "improve understanding, cohesion and integration".
The proposal is recommended for approval by the planning committee of East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) on Wednesday (January 8).
It was brought to debate by Councillor Lis Every, who said it would be "in the interest of the public" to learn more about the plans.
But nearby residents raised concerns over traffic problems adding to existing problems, while others said "long term benefits would outweigh any harm" to businesses.
Among supporters is the Paradise Centre who has hosted the Ely prayer group for 18 years.
However, conservation officers objected saying the design ambitions were "so low", "neither preserving nor enhancing the conservation area".
Planning officers said the application should be approved with opening hours as one of the conditions.
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The times will be 6am to 11pm Monday to Friday and 7am to 10pm on Saturdays, Sundays, Bank Holidays and Public Holidays.
"The design of the proposal is suitable for this area of Ely that has a mix of traditional properties," the report states.
"If a fully functioning mosque is sought then this site would not be appropriate as it would create significant disturbance during anti-social hours.
"However, a community centre with controlled hours that reflect the entire day would work."
The two storey terraced house at 34 Broad Street is in a poor state of repair and has been flooded on at least two occasions, says the applicants.
It will be transformed into a mock Victorian building designed to look like two terrace houses.
Fronting Broad Street will be a property in keeping with the street and with a two-bedroom flat.
To the rear it is planned two-storey extensions split into two halls with an office and kitchen at first floor level.
Trustees of the Muslim community said: "We believe that the Ely council and the Ely community are a forward thinking people and by granting us permission to use it for the prayer times will enable us to feel part of this community." It would improve "community cohesion" they added.