Plans for east London mosque rejected

London: Long-running plans to build a controversial mosque in east London to hold services for as many as 9,000 worshippers have been rejected by the communities secretary, Greg Clark, the media reported.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on Thursday dismissed appeals against the denial of permission for planning the mosque in Newham, which goes by various names, including the Riverine Centre, the Abbey Mills Mosque, London Markaz and Masjid-e-Ilyas, The Guardian reported.

The Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat has sought permission to build the mosque on the 17-acre Abbey Mills site near the Olympic Park in Stratford, for about 18 years. The proposals included a huge dining hall and a library.

“The decision was based on concerns that include local housing provision and conflict with the council’s local plan for the borough. It took account of the evidence from all parties and is in line with the council’s original determination and advice from the independent planning inspector on the main appeal,” the DCLG said.

Tablighi Jamaat was also refused temporary permission to continue to use existing buildings on the site as a place of worship for the next two years, and must cease to do so within three months.

More than 250,000 people signed an online petition opposing the plans for the mosque in 2007.

Tablighi Jamaat appealed against the ruling, leading to a three-week public inquiry last year.

The organisation bought the site, a chemical works decommissioned in the late 1980s, in 1996. A temporary mosque known as the Riverine Centre, with capacity for 2,500 people, was built on the site soon after.