Firms object Hitchin Mosque move
- Credit: Archant
A mosque situated in a residential street could move to an industrial area following complaints from neighbours about noise.
Hitchin Mosque on Florence Street has submitted a planning application to North Herts District Council asking for a change of use at 27 Bury Mead Road so it can move there.
But businesses on the industrial estate have objected to the plan, saying the area is not suitable for a place of worship.
It is estimated there are 1,000 people from Hitchin, Letchworth GC and surrounding towns and villages which use the mosque, although the maximum capacity of the current centre is around 300.
Paul Oakley, owner of CW motors on Bury Mead Road, said: “I have nothing against them moving here, it could be a Church of England church, but this road or area is just not practical. We struggle on a day-to-day basis with the amount of cars, lorries and HGVs that go up and down this road and it really is dangerous and not suitable for parking or the general public.”
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Another business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We have objected because we think the amount of cars and people will start to impact on our business. We also think it will be dangerous. There is not enough parking for the businesses that operate here and by having a congregation that meets regularly is just going to be impractical and going to add to the congestion on the road.”
A planning report, referring to the mosque’s current location, said: “The noise disturbance during the morning and late night services is causing a nuisance to the residents of Florence Street.”
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The report goes on to say the mosque has received complaints from the police.
“This is because when the congregation leaves, large groups congregate outside and make noise,” it said.
It also states there is a car parking problem at the current site during the five daily congregations and no off-road parking. The report also says the premises has been subject to vandalism and attacks and by moving to Bury Mead Road, it would give the mosque safe location and enable other communities to use the facility.
A resident of Florence Street said the mosque is very much part of the community but it would be a good thing if it moved because it caused problems on a Friday when people gathered for prayers.
The resident, who asked not to be named, added: “There have been times when people have blocked our drive and used our parking spaces. It really is a nightmare.”
The Comet contacted a representative for Hitchin Mosque who was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.