Mixed reactions as mosque plans for Lincoln move one step closer
A controversial scheme to build a mosque, supermarket and housing has led to both jubilation and resentment since it was given the green light by city councillors.
They approved outline planning permission for the mosque and houses at the old Boultham Park Dairy on Monday and the Islamic Association of Lincoln First says it is aiming to unveil detailed plans in the near future.
Dr Tanweer Ahmed, trustee of the association, told the Echo he is thrilled that the quest for a purpose-built place of worship can now progress to the next stage.
"I am very happy and very pleased with the decision," he said. "We have worked so long for this.
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"Now, we need to apply for full planning approval which may take three to six months.
"The cost of building the mosque very much depends on its design and what is acceptable to planners and the Islamic association.
"My anticipation is the cost will be over £500,000."
The City of Lincoln Council received a petition against the proposals which had more than 500 names.
And opponents still remain concerned about traffic congestion and flood risk.
Chairman of Boultham Residents' Association Jean Flannery told the Echo: "Whatever the highways department says, we believe there may be more problems with traffic than we can imagine.
"We will be looking at the full details of what is proposed to see what might possibly mitigate the impact of all this on the community."
Mum-of-one Sophie Barker, 38, of Boultham Park Road, Lincoln, questioned the view of highways officers.
"The previous application for the site only 200 yards away from the dairy was rejected on traffic and parking grounds," she said.
"To get to this new site you'll still need to go either along the High Street, Dixon Street and Boultham Park Road so I don't see there's any difference.
"I'm against the whole development of the site.
"I presume it will be very busy on a Friday because of people going to pray and also a lot of people do their shopping on a Friday."
Plans for a new Lidl supermarket at the dairy site won full planning permission at the same council meeting.
The new mosque could be up and running in about two years' time.
Both the mosque and supermarket will be accessed from Dixon Street and the housing via Boultham Park Road. About 140 parking spaces are included in the scheme.
Dr Ahmed added: "We anticipate that we may have a small regular praying hall where we can pray five times a day.
"At present, five to 20 Muslims attend regular prayers.
"We will combine a smaller prayer hall with a larger community hall to create one big hall for prayers on Friday.
"In addition, there will be dedicated praying room for ladies.
"We anticipate that there will be a library and classrooms for children.
"The style may look like our previous plan at Church Drive which was rejected by the planning committee two years ago.
"I just want to thank both Muslims and non-Muslims who attended the planning meeting to support us.
"I believe it will be good that we work together with local residents and the residents' association to support this important development."
Mohammad Rafique, 50, a businessman who lives in Boultham, Lincoln, said: "I am overjoyed at the decision of the planning committee," he said.
"We have campaigned for so long to get to this stage."