End of the road for Lincoln mosque

The appeal to build a mosque in Lincoln has been denied, as the Planning Inspectorate believed that the “quiet community” area is not beneficial to the erection of “an important community facility”.

The Islamic Association of Lincoln had a long battle to build their mosque in the city. The land they bought on Church Drive (Boultham Park) was first burnt down in 2008, followed by residents complaining that there would be big traffic problems if the mosque went ahead. City of Lincoln Council therefore rejected planning permission in November 2009.

In a report from August 24 (PDF), visiting Inspector Robert Watson said: “I have considerable sympathy with the problems and aspirations of the Islamic Association. However, my overall conclusion is that this site is not appropriate for the location of the proposed development.

The site of the proposed mosque is now home to overgrown greenery.

“The site is embedded in a relatively confined residential neighbourhood where the character of the highway network reflects the predominant localised residential use. The development of a religious centre associated with an expanding and active Muslim community of sub-regional importance, in my view, would lead to potentially serious highway and amenity problems.

“The movement and on-street parking of vehicles, together with the comings and goings of pedestrians, would seriously affect the highway use of the surrounding residential area and compromise the amenity of local residents through noise and disturbance.”

The decision will come as a blow to the Islamic Association and leader Dr Tanweer Ahmed, as at present they are having to worship temporarily in Lincoln’s Grandstand. The original mosque in Lincoln on Orchard Street is now too small for the ever-growing community of the faith.

The inspector did feel though that plans for the mosque’s aesthetics would be in keeping with the area: “In my judgement, the proposed building is restrained in its design, whilst adding some visual variety to the street scene.

“It would be generally aligned with the houses on Church Drive and would be of a similar two-storey height. The external materials proposed, comprising red brick, grey roof tiles, with some details picked out in stone, in my view, would sit comfortably with the architectural character of the locality.”

Mosque supporter Councillor Karen Lee told The Lincolnshire Echo: “While I understand the reasons for the appeal being dismissed, I would support having a permanent mosque site in Lincoln.

“I wish them the best of luck in finding somewhere permanent,” Lee added.