Shrewsbury Muslim prayer centre plans approved

Members of Shropshire Council’s planning committee voted in favour of proposals to change the use of the former register office at Column Lodge in Preston Street.

The building was sold by Shropshire Council to the Shropshire Bangladeshi Welfare Society in a £215,000 deal. The group wants to turn the site into a prayer centre and community room.

But the scheme has strongly divided opinion with Shropshire Council receiving more than 500 letters about the application prior to the latest petition, with 227 in support and 278 against. It has also led to the English Defence League protesting in the town outside the planned prayer centre.

A petition in favour of the prayer centre was handed in at Shirehall earlier this week which had signed by more than 600 people. The petition was launched on Friday by anti-racism group Hope Not Hate.

While some of the complaints about the plans have focused on concerns about the amount of traffic the centre could generate, a report to councillors on the planning committee said the building is unlikely to be as busy as when the site was used as a register office.

A design and access statement in support of the planning application said that at peak times on a Friday afternoon there could be up to 50 visitors at the premises.

Shropshire Star, 20 June 2013