A plea for racial tolerance has been made after a British National Party leaflet claimed people in a West town had been denied the chance to comment before a “mosque” was given planning approval.
Plans for an Islamic centre above and behind a kebab shop in Yeovil was given planning permission in 2003 after an application was made for a change of use from office to religious meeting rooms.
The BNP leaflet claimed the public should have been told the use was specifically for an Islamic centre or mosque, and that failure to do so showed a “culture of institutionalised silence and deceit” by officials and councillors. The leaflet, promoted by Robert Baehr, a BNP candidate in South Somerset district council elections, has already been delivered to hundreds of homes in Yeovil.
Candidates from other parties yesterday dismissed the BNP’s claim as “rubbish”. John Grana, one of 12 candidates standing under the banner of the Central Committee, Local Residents Working Together, said:
“This sort of leaflet is laughable and divisive. We stand for religious tolerance and freedom of thought. Yeovil welcomes people from everywhere. If I trace my own ancestry, I find Italian, Irish, Scottish and English blood. There is a richness in the mix we have.”
Simon Gale, the council’s head of development and building control, said: “In planning terms there is no requirement to state the distinctive religious use.”