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Mosque refused planning permission amid complaints from church over the road

A community centre in Granby has been refused permission to operate as a mosque amid complaints from the church across the road.

A community centre in Granby has been refused permission to operate as a mosque amid complaints from the church across the road.

Hassan Warsame applied for a certificate of lawfulness to “regularise” the existing use of 139-141a Granby Street.

Ismael Sallah, on behalf of Mr Warsame, said the building has operated as a place of worship, cultural and educational centre since 2009.

Imam Muhamed Hassan said: “We have been here for more than a decade.

“We also offer an after-school study programme for Somali children in Liverpool city, raising some awareness and encouraging them to have an active role in the community.

“We also work with the Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement Service and some schools in the area.

“We have never encountered any problems and we never expected [when submitting the application] we would be facing something hostile or difficult.”

But The New Life International Mission (TNLIM), and its attendees, over the road from the centre objected to the proposal.

Part of one letter of objection said: “We are concerned the approval as a place of worship may create unnecessary tension judging from historical observations.

“The fact there are other mosques within the Granby area in close proximity should not be overlooked or disregarded by the council.

“We would like to state we are peace-loving individuals who will never perpetrate any acts of aggression.

“We are also concerned two places of worship opposite each other will create unnecessary traffic congestion and parking constraints.”

Other objections said they believed the centre had only begun operating as a place of worship around 2014/15.

A certificate of lawfulness is a means used to establish the facts on a site, and can make clear that the existing use is lawful for planning purposes or that the proposal does not require planning permission.

Had Liverpool City Council ‘s planning committee believed the building has been a place of worship for ten or more years, the certificate would have been granted.

But as there were no council records confirming this continuous existing use, and as the centre had been listed as a shop, and paid business rates as such until November 2018, the committee said it could not state this on the “balance of probabilities”.

The building can, however, operate as a place of education and cultural centre.

Planning Officer Stuart Clark said, moving forward, it would be possible for Mr Warsame to apply for planning permission to use the site as a mosque, adding: “We would look at things like traffic impact and so on, things we haven’t been allowed to look at in this application.”

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