Planning inquiry to examine council’s rejection of West Ham mosque

The Abbey Mills site in West Ham.

The Abbey Mills site in West Ham. - Credit: Archant

Newham Council’s rejection of a planning application for the UK’s biggest mosque is set to be the subject of a public inquiry this year.

Councillors voted unanimously to reject plans for a 9,000 capacity building for Muslim worshippers in December on the site - former industrial land at the end of Canning Road which is listed for strategic development.

Officers argued that the mosque plans failed to provide a mixed-use development.

The Riverine Trust, who submitted the planning application, appealed and the decision is due to be examined in a public inquiry of the Planning Inspectorate over a number of weeks towards the end of 2013.

Last month, the High Court ordered the Trust to clear the site, also known as the Abbey Mills Mosque, where 3,000 Muslims currently worship.

But instead the Trustees have now applied to a judge to appeal the injunction meaning no timetable to clear the site has been put in place.

They have also submitted proposals to the council for a new planning application for a mixed-use development.

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Details are confidential in the initial stages but an independent report produced for the planning committee last December suggested the site could reasonably accommodate about 1,100 homes and around 15,000sqm of employment or community space with the potential to generate 650 to 900 jobs.

The Recorder contacted a spokesperson for the Riverine Trust for a comment but none was forthcoming.

A Newham Council spokesperson said: “After 17 years of breaking promises it is clear that the Riverine Trust has no intention of honouring their latest promise, upheld by the High Court, to clear the site and stop using the Abbey Mills site.

“Rather than using every legal avenue to delay the development of Abbey Mills in an acceptable way, the Trust should be working to find an alternative place of worship which is safe and accessible.

“Abbey Mills has the potential to provide much needed jobs, homes, and space for local people.

“It is time for the Riverine Trust to be honest with residents and the Council about its real intentions for the future of Abbey Mills.”