Village 'super mosque' plan set for refusal by Preston planners

Controversial plans for a super mosque in the village of Broughton look set to be turned down by Preston Council.

Town Hall officers have recommended the "visually prominent" centre for worship on land near to St John the Baptist Church should be refused when it comes before the planning committee next week.

Planners say it would be out of place in the open countryside, would have insufficient car parking and not enough detail has been submitted on its appearance, scale and layout to show what impact it would have on listed buildings in the neighbourhood, particularly the Grade II* Listed Parish Church.

Councillors will be told that 427 letters of objection have been submitted to the council, including one from Defence Minister and local MP Ben Wallace, opposing the scheme.

Aerial view of the site between D'Urton Lane and the M55 slip road (Image: RIBA).

Broughton Parish Council has also lodged an objection and has asked for permission to address the planning committee when the application is debated next Thursday.

Chair Coun Pat Hastings told the Post: "It's a victory for sense. I'm glad they have listened to us.

"But it will obviously come back to the planning committee in a revised form. This won't be the end of it."

The application for a "landmark" mosque for up to 450 worshippers on a raised patch of land by D'Urton Lane and the slip road to the M55 eastbound has been put in by Preston architects Cassidy and Ashton on behalf of an unnamed charitable trust.

The land is adjacent to the M55 eastbound slip road.

A competition is being run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to find a design for the huge building. The brief is to produce a mosque which makes a "real visual statement" and can be a "proud element of Preston's skyscape for many years to come."

Coun Hastings said: "We as a parish council don't object in principle to the mosque, it is just the access. It's terrible.

"I can understand why the local authority have had difficulty trying to make a decision, because they don't know what they are making a decision on. We have no plans because the competition is still ongoing."

Amongst objections received from the public are concerns over increased traffic and pollution, insufficient parking and the development would "not be in keeping" with the local area.

The planned mosque is likely to be visible for miles around.

One resident said it would "dominate and spoil the traditional and deeply historical nature of the surrounding environment: Broughton St John Baptist Church, attendant graveyard, Church Cottage and the C of E Primary School."

More than 620 letters were also submitted in support of the plan, one saying "existing mosques in other parts of Preston are at full capacity."