Plaistow mosque plans opposed due to ‘saturation’

Naila Mir, third from left, with residents at the site of the new East Road mosque

Naila Mir, third from left, with residents at the site of the new East Road mosque - Credit: Archant

A Salafist mosque set to replace Plaistow’s Deaf Community Centre in East Road is facing opposition from people who say there are enough mosques in the borough.

The Masjid Abdul Aziz Bin Baz will accommodate up to 150 worshippers but neighbours are concerned about traffic, noise pollution and mosque “saturation”.

East Road landlord Naila Mir says the mosque’s ultra-conservative brand of Islam will not reflect the diversity of the road and the wider borough.

She says East Road’s eastern Europeans need wider representation, and said she didn’t see any need for a 47th mosque in Newham.

“I don’t thing there’s any need for another mosque in Newham and this is going to have a negative impact socially too,” she said. “Over the last few years I’ve seen an influx of people moving here from west London, Romania and other parts of eastern Europe so we shouldn’t be saturating the area with mosques.

“The perfect use for that building would be something like a nursery for the mums who’ve recently moved here.

“We should be opening up the area and being more diverse – this is closing the area off.”

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She says she is also concerned about noise and traffic and has rallied more than East Road 20 residents to oppose the mosque.

“We’re really not happy about this – this is a very quiet, residential street,” she said. “I’m a Muslim, but is anybody happy living with a mosque across the road?

“A deaf centre that was used by a handful of people is now going to be a religious place of worship for 150 people.”

A council spokeswoman said because the non-residential site has “D1” status, it did not require permission to change from a community centre for the deaf to a place of worship.

“The former health centre building in East Road, Plaistow, has had planning permission for non-residential institution use for several decades,” she said.

“It can legally change use from a community centre to a place of worship without needing planning permission.

“The new users should engage with the community to ensure that any impact from the change of use is minimised.”

She added planning classes are set by government and Newham Council has lobbied government to give local councils more planning powers to reflect the needs of the community.

A representative from Masjid Abdul Aziz Bin Baz declined to comment.