SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association)— Dreams of York Muslims to expand their mosque have revived as the city council is expected to examine a fresh application for the Islamic center within a few weeks.
“Over recent years, the existing buildings struggle to accommodate the peak demand,” York-based consultants LHL Group said in a statement cited by The Press website on Saturday, July 7.
“The new facilities will provide accommodation which will meet the needs of the contemporary Muslim community both now and in the future.”
Original plans for renewing the current building of York mosque and Islamic center were presented last year.
The £2 million scheme was shelved last autumn, after the Environment Agency raised flooding concerns.
The original mosque proposals were also opposed by the operators of the nearby Raylor Centre in James Street, who said they feared noise and traffic problems would be created.
North Yorkshire Police said it could attract “unwanted attention” from vandals because of its appearance and more security measures needed to be installed.
However, the Guildhall planning panel and local councilors backed the plans.
A new application has now been submitted to City of York Council, which is expected to make a decision by the end of August.
Attracting between 250 and 300 people for Friday prayer and community groups, the space of the old mosque was too small.
Agents acting for the centre say the existing prayer hall would be demolished to make way for the new mosque.
The new mosque and Islamic center is expected to accommodate 480 people in the main halls and 56 more in the exhibition room, which would be used as “a bridge between the mosque and the community” and be filled with Islamic literature, artefacts and the history of the site.
“The proposed development seeks to create a high-quality scheme which is both appropriate as a place of worship and relevant to its York context,” LHL Group said in the statement.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority, estimated at nearly 2.5 million.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.— www.shafaqna.com/english/