Towering new Derby mosque may be blocked by city planners - with poll
A MOSQUE which would have a minaret towering 21 metres into the sky should not be built, say Derby City Council planning officers.
The Al-Farooq Trust wants to build on waste land between Mill Hill Lane and Renals Street.
If allowed, the mosque would spread over 2,800 sq metres and would have two domes.
The highest ornamental minaret of one dome would be 12 metres high – taking the overall building height to 21 metres.
The trust has been working for more than three years to find a replacement site for its current mosque, which is based in a large house in Western Road.
The house can become so overcrowded – with 150 to 200 people at Friday prayers – that worshippers have to pray outside.
But plans for a mosque which could cater for up to 600 people have been criticised by neighbours and planning officers as being too large.
Phillip Binns lives in Mill Hill Lane. He was one of 18 people who wrote to the council objecting to the proposals. A further 106 people signed a petition against the plans.
Mr Binns said: "Parking would be a real issue at peak times. There could also be issues with noise and I think it's too big."
But there has also been significant support for the replacement mosque, with 63 letters backing the plans and a petition of 276 signatures calling for it to be built.
Al-Farooq secretary Dr Mohammed Asghar said: "The mosque is needed because on Fridays we get very crowded at the moment, with between 150 and 200 people, which means sometimes people have to pray in the yard outside."
Officers recommending the plans be refused permission said that while there was demand for the building, it should not be created at the expense of "inappropriate design".
They claimed the building would be overbearing, intrusive and would be "unduly harmful" to nearby residents.
But Dr Asghar said: "I don't think the building is too large. It would have a prayer hall and facilities for funerals which we need.
"It would also have space to educate children and an office which we need to store papers as we don't have anywhere at the moment."
The planning control committee will meet next Thursday to decide whether to go along with officers' recommendations to reject the plans or to approve them.
*POLL: Have your say on these plans with our poll, above right.