'A fit-for-purpose mosque is long overdue in Lincoln'
Planners will decide on Monday if a mosque, supermarket and housing can be built on the site of the old Boultham Park Dairy. Dr Tanweer Ahmed, trustee of the Islamic Association of Lincoln, today tells why a purpose-built place of worship is long overdue...
The main reason for wanting a fit-for-purpose mosque is that currently we just don't have a suitable place of worship.
We have been renting the Grandstand for the past 10 years or so and our current mosque in Orchard Street is too small.
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For a number of days, even on important days like Eid, which is like our Christmas, the Grandstand has not been available for prayers.
What we are trying for is a proper place where children can learn and a place where women can also pray. This is very important because we don't have that currently.
If we get permission we will need to submit a more detailed plan and, if all goes well, we anticipate opening the mosque in about two years.
The overall idea is to have a smaller prayer hall and a larger community hall, which will become one big room for Friday prayers.
At other times the hall could be used by community groups and non-Muslims.
There will also be a library and we would very much like people to come in and use it in order to remove any misunderstanding of Islam.
I believe the old dairy is the right place because it fulfils all the requirements and the proposal has addressed all the issues raised previously.
It was and it will remain our priority that we do not cause any inconvenience to residents and work closely with them.
We looked at about 20 places and there was nowhere like this. This site also addresses the parking issue from before. Our last plan had only 17 car parking spaces.
In all my travels around the UK, I have never come across any place of worship – mosque, church or synagogue – which has 70 car parking spaces.
And in any case many people will walk or use public transport.
I also think a supermarket is a good choice on the site. I can't believe that the 100-to-150 people coming for prayers on Friday lunchtimes are not going to shop there, so it will be good for worshipers to worship and then shop.
I know Lincolnshire Co-operative always plays an important role in community work so I would like to thank the chief executive for supporting the Muslim community.
When I've been shopping in the supermarket and in other places a number of people have come up to me and said they really support us.
I have spoken to so many Christian people and they say we are doing the right thing and they support this project.
I would really like to thank the people of Lincoln for showing so much support.
This is an exciting and very important project, which is long overdue in Lincoln.
The application for full and outline planning permission is recommended for approval with conditions including highways improvements, a surface water drainage system, and a green design.