Stockport Council is set to give the go-ahead to plans for a new home for Cheadle Mosque and Community Centre on Green Belt land off Wilmslow Road.
The plot has been used as a mosque since the Cheadle Masjid [CMA] acquired it in 2004; the CMA has been attempting to redevelop existing buildings for some time to bring forward a new place of worship, given concerns with overcrowding and cramped conditions at peak worship times.
Stockport Council has been recommended to approve the latest proposals when its planning committee meets tomorrow, which will allow work to get under way after a series of redesigns to the project.
Initial plans were put forward for an extension but these were subsequently withdrawn; Zendium Design Architects were then instructed to draw up new-build plans, and these were approved in November 2017.
However, when a new architect, Four Architects, was instructed to take the design to RIBA stage four, several elements of the building were found to be “incredibly difficult to build in addition to being rather expensive”.
These included protruding windows, which created buildability issues; a “space hungry” main hall; and an “extremely large rooflight”, which is described as being “difficult to fabricate” with the cost “better utilised elsewhere in the development”. A curving feature wall was also identified for removal to save “significant cost”.
An updated planning application was put forward in August this year following a series of changes. This features a more efficient layout and minimisation of dead spaces, as well as a change to brick cladding.
The building’s position has been specifically designed so the prayer hall sits in the direction of Mecca, but the building’s position and footprint has not increased.
Recommending the scheme for approval, Stockport Council’s planning officers took on board concerns raised around the volume of parking needed for the site, particularly around Friday prayers.
Officers said: “The proposed development complies with the Council’s parking standards, however, notwithstanding this it is noted that parking demand arising from Friday prayers exceeds those standards, resulting in significant highway issues in the locality.
“The application is presented on the basis that the development is required to address issues of overcrowding and to provide improved facilities for the community and in relation to religious education.
“On the basis that attendance will not materially increase, the proposed development is clearly acceptable, however, there remains the opportunity through the provision of additional floorspace for increased demand to be accommodated within the development.
“It is considered that given the provision of additional parking, formalisation of the existing traffic management plan and introduction of a travel plan, all of which can be secured by condition, there will be no material harm to highway safety.”
The scheme has already been supported by the council’s Cheadle area committee, which backed the plans earlier this year. Stockport Council’s planning committee will decide whether to grant planning permission on 21 November.
The professional team also includes planner Paul Butler Associates; Zerum; Urban Green; and Hydrock.