London Colney mosque plan rejected

PUBLISHED: 15:11 05 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:44 06 May 2010

A BID to build a mosque in London Colney which attracted more than a hundred objections has been turned down because it would probably attract more worshippers than at first indicated. St Albans council planning officers had recommended approval for the p

A BID to build a mosque in London Colney which attracted more than a hundred objections has been turned down because it would probably attract more worshippers than at first indicated.

St Albans council planning officers had recommended approval for the plan to convert Cemex House in Barnet Road into an Islamic Centre but the recommendation was based on estimates of around 50 people using the place of worship.

County councillor for The Colneys Chris Brazier said: "The Islamic Centre's website showed they were seeking £1,000 each from 300 people which indicates to me that there will be a far bigger usage than stated in the application. If these people are contributing towards the cost I think they will obviously want to use the facility.

"I think Hertfordshire Highways would have recommended refusal if they realised the site was likely to attract greater numbers than suggested in the application."

He explained that the other reason for refusal was that the site was in a conservation area and such a large establishment would be out of keeping.

Letters received from more than 100 residents objected to the scheme on the grounds of traffic fears, narrowness of the access road, insufficient parking and noise.

Cllr Brazier stressed that the committee's decision had nothing to do with the "vicious" anti-mosque leaflets sent out by British National Party member Danny Seabrook: "The Muslim community may feel let down in this instance but we were mainly concerned about the numbers here.

"I received a copy of the vitriolic leaflet sent by the BNP and I found the views expressed therein extremely distasteful. Extreme views do nothing for the benefit of the community."

Mr Seabrook, who has now decided to stand for the BNP in the forthcoming London Colney parish council election, has been accused of stirring up racial hatred with the distribution of 'offensive' leaflets to homes in the village which are currently under police investigation.

He is hoping he can win votes off the back of his anti-mosque stance at the by-election which may not be held until February.

Mr Seabrook, 37, said he would be campaigning on several issues including the rail freight terminal and conservation issues.

In a slight change of tack from the views outlined in his leaflet, Mr Seabrook said he did not oppose a mosque in London Colney but felt the present choice of site was too large. But last week he told the Herts Advertiser: "A mosque would be out of keeping in the village. St Albans is a Christian city. You give an inch and they take a mile. They'll have minarets up there next."

BNP member Mark Gerrard stood in the Colneys Division in June's county council election, winning around 200 votes.


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