Thousands of residents of a largely Hindu area of Leicester have objected to a proposed Muslim prayer room and education centre.
Supporters of the development insist it is not a mosque; however, opponents say it will harm the community, the Leicester Mercury reports.
After a developer applied to convert a vacant warehouse in the Belgrave area of the city into facilities for Muslims, more than 1,435 letters of objection have been sent to planning officials, and 3,569 people signed a petition against the plan.
The council says the supporters of the project claim it will provide local residents with “religious education, especially for those of Islamic faith within the area”.
Many of the concerns sent to the council point out that the area is largely made up of Hindu families so the proposed centre, catering exclusively to Muslims, would be out of place.
London Council Slammed for Censoring Objections to Controversial Mosque https://t.co/OiPwumSSpr
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The local Labour MP for Leicester East, Keith Vaz, was among those to register opposition, highlighting concerns over traffic, parking, and noise that were also raised in a public meeting he arranged.
Members of the city council’s planning committee will be asked to decide whether to allow the development at a meeting next Thursday, but planning officers have already recommended it is refused.
A city council planning spokesman said: “As a result of the proposed uses, the nature of the property and its location, the proposal would result in increased on-street activity, noise from people and vehicles particularly in the late evening and early morning.
“This would result in significant harm to the residential amenity conditions of nearby residents and other users of the street.”
The report adds: “The concerns regarding community cohesion, potential tensions between the proposed users and the residents or potential riots, a Muslim centre in close proximity to a temple and church and other issues relating to religion are not material planning considerations.”