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Plans for mosque in east London rejected

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Plans to build a mosque in east London that could hold services for up to 9,000 worshippers at a time have been rejected by the planning minister.

The Department for Communities and Local Government dismissed appeals against the refusal of planning permission for the mosque in Newham.

A spokesman for DCLG said: “The decision was based on concerns that include local housing provision and conflict with the council’s local plan for the borough.

“It also took account of the evidence from all parties and is in line with the council’s original determination and advice from the independent planning inspector on the main appeal.”

The scheme goes by various names, including the Riverine Centre, the Abbey Mills mosque, London Markaz and Masjid-e-Ilyas.

The Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat has been seeking permission to build a new mosque, which would have accommodated more than 9,000 worshippers, on the 17-acre Abbey Mills site, for about 18 years. The proposals included a huge dining hall and a library.

In 2007, more than 250,000 people signed an online petition opposing the plans for the mosque. The petition claimed to represent “the Christian population of this great country England” and said the mosque would “cause terrible violence and suffering”.

Tablighi Jamaat’s plans were rejected by Newham council in 2012 after concerns were raised about the size of the mosque and the impact on parking and traffic in the area. It also said the mosque would have “an impact on historic buildings nearby” and the council’s priorities were the creation of new homes and jobs. The far-right nationalist organisation the English Defence League celebrated the council’s decision.

Tablighi Jamaat appealed against the ruling, leading to a three-week public inquiry last year.

Tablighi Jamaat bought the site in 1996, which was a chemical works until it was decommissioned in the late 1980s. A temporary mosque known as the Riverine Centre, with a capacity of 2,500 people, was built on the site soon after. The Guardian


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