Plans for new Islamic centre in Norwich recommended for approval
- Credit: Archant
Plans to transform a hair salon in Norwich into a new Islamic cultural centre have been recommended for approval despite receiving almost 140 objections.
Norwich City Council will next week decide whether to grant Al Madinah Ltd permission to turn the former salon in Old Lakenham into a community facility.
The centre, on Sandy Lane, will be used for counselling, after school activities, Arabic classes, group prayer and a homework club.
While a number of the centre's activities will be directed towards the Muslim community, the facility will be available to everyone, a council planning officer's report said.
The application has received 139 objections, with many people concerned about parking. Others incorrectly assumed it was becoming a mosque.
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The council said "a number" of representations made defamatory or offensive comments and were not taken into consideration. A further 39 comments supported the plans.
Addressing people's objections, the report said the salon had been vacant for a year.
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Planning permission was previously granted to demolish and rebuild commercial units on the site, but the report said there had been "little interest" in implementing that permission.
In regard to parking, the plans state there will be six spaces for cars and six spaces for bikes.
The report said: "The agent has provided information that suggests that a general idea of capacity would be around 27 people at any one time and therefore significant numbers of people will not be travelling to and from the site."
It said the reason for basing the centre in Tuckswood and Lakenham was that members of the community do not drive and feel "isolated" from larger facilities further away.
The report said a condition will be imposed on the centre to restrict opening hours to 8am to 11pm in order to mitigate against noise.
However, during Ramadan, the centre will be allowed to open until three hours after sunset.
The report said that if permission is granted, any religion would be free to use the centre as a place of worship.
The plans have been recommended for approval, but the council's planning committee will make its decision on August 8.