Public inquiry for Preston mosque set for summer

The government called in the application for a 16,000+ sq ft mosque off D’Urton Lane earlier this month, and now details have been released on the inquiry’s timeframe.

The inquiry is set to begin at 10am on 2 August and last six days. Planning inspector Darren Hendley has been appointed by the Secretary of State to oversee the case.

A decision on the appeal will be made on or before 1 November this year, according to a letter from planning inspectorate case officer Leanne Palmer.

The proposed mosque was designed by London-based architects Luca Poian Forms, the winners of an international design competition led by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The three-storey mosque would feature a 30-metre-tall minaret and spaces for 150 cars to park.

The proposals, which were submitted by planning consultant Cassidy + Ashton Group on behalf of an unnamed client, were approved by Preston City Council in February.

Preston Mosque 2, Luca Poian Forms, P RIBA

The proposed mosque is meant to be a ‘landmark’ building in the area. Credit: Luca Poian Forms via RIBA

A contentious project, the scheme generated more than 400 letters of objection and more than 650 letters of support.

Traffic concerns featured in several of the letters of objection, and were one of the reasons Cllr Graham Joliffe told the BBC that he had written to the government to call in the mosque.

“I’m not against the mosque in the right place, where there are good transport links and it is not going to cause disruption on a main artery in and out of the city,” Joliffe told the news service.

“But my view is that this really is the wrong building in the wrong place and it is quite clearly an egregious breach of a variety of different planning rules.”

Other areas of concern stem from the site of the mosque, which is brownfield but designated as open countryside. Thus the mosque’s approval is contrary to the spatial strategy in the Preston Local Plan.

Preston City Council planning officers acknowledged both concerns in their report on the project in February. However, they noted that the traffic concerns could be addressed by a section 106 obligation. The officers also decided that the benefits of the mosque in providing a “much-needed place of worship” outweighed the concerns regarding the local plan conflict.

After the government called in the application, Preston City Council’s director of development and housing, Chris Hayward, said the council was “disappointed” by the decision.

“The Secretary of State typically uses his powers sparingly,” Hayward said. “Very few applications are called-in every year and they normally relate to planning applications which are greater than local significance.”

Want to learn more about the scheme? The application’s reference number with Preston City Council is 06/2021/0431. The appeal’s reference number with the Planning Inspectorate is APP/N2345/V/22/3296374.

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Not enough parking


Wait until every Friday when cars will be parked on the street

By Anonymous

Landmark for Preston

By Anonymous

Totally inappropriate place preston council not fit or educated enough for these desigons

By Anonymous

Both the location and the design are entirely appropriate. The design in particular, represents a proposal of real quality which the city will be proud of for decades to come. I firmly hope that it will be allowed.

By david cox

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