Two-storey extension of this house-based Mosque is approved

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A house in Lancashire which has been unlawfully used as a Mosque for ten years has now been granted planning permission.

South Ribble Borough Council’s planning committee has approved a two story extension to a house being used as a Mosque on a residential street.

Plans for a two-storey add-on to the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Centre on Chapel Brow were put on hold last month, amid concern that it would have an “overbearing” effect on neighbouring properties.

Concerns of locals were ignored and the two-storey structure will now extend three metres from the rear of the end terrace.

The planning meeting heard that the new design was “not dissimilar” to other extensions on similar properties.

But local resident said the council was not adhering to its own planning policies, which state that the authority is unlikely to approve applications with an “overlooking distance” of less than 21 metres.

The resident said:

“[A house on] Fleetwood Street indirectly faces the extension at 16 metres - and that extension will have two windows that overlook [their] bedroom and living room.

“There is also an access-only restriction in place in Fleetwood Street, but few motorists pay attention to it - including worshippers. Parking is not readily available on the surrounding car parks - they’re usually full,” .

But planning officer Debbie Roberts said there would be “no loss of privacy” for the mosque’s neighbours, because of plans to use “obscured glazing” on the extension.

Responding to concerns about parking, Umar Hafiz from the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Centre, said the venue was in walking distance for many worshippers.

“Our website does promote the use of the [nearby] car parks [and] a lot of the roads are already congested outside the hours of prayers.

“The planning application is based on working with the regulations and doing it the right way. We’re here to work with everybody in the community, not to cause any disruption to residents' quality of life,” Mr. Hafiz added.

Internal alterations to the two-bedroomed property - which do not require planning permission - include creating an open plan meeting space on the first floor and a toilet and shower room at ground level.

The Mosque has operated at the residential property since 2010, but has now officially been granted permission for a change of use as part of its application to extend.

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