Concerns over road safety look set to scupper prayer centre plans

PUBLISHED: 08:22 05 November 2014 | UPDATED: 08:22 05 November 2014

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

The furniture warehouse in Chettisham

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A group's plans to convert part of a warehouse in Chettisham into a prayer centre and community hub look set to be rejected today (Wednesday)

A group’s plans to convert part of a warehouse in Chettisham into a prayer centre and community hub looked set to be rejected today (Wednesday).

Shair Choudhury, of the Ely Muslim Association, applied back in June to convert part of a warehouse, in Chettisham Business Park, into a community and education centre.

Mr Choudhury said, at present, the group was using a dance classroom at the Paradise Centre for Friday prayers but said that the space was “unsuitable for the act of worship”.

He added that the proposed centre, in Chettisham, would act as an education and information centre as well as prayer facility to “support the wider community”.

But other users of the business park were critical of the plans, saying that pedestrians would be in conflict with traffic if the plans were given the go-ahead.

The plans were due to be considered by councillors on East Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee today. They were recommended for refusal.

Planning officer, Sue Wheatley, said: “Whilst this is a town centre use and therefore requires the submission of a sequential test officers are satisfied that there are no alternative sites available within the town centre.

“The loss of employment land is also not overriding. However, the local highway authority has objected to the application on highway safety grounds.

“Therefore, whilst officers are sympathetic to the needs of the community, they have concluded that they have no alternative but to recommend refusal of the application on highway safety grounds.

“Health and safety concerns have also been raised by businesses within the industrial arising from the conflict between HGVs, forklifts and pedestrians within the site.”

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