Controversial Sunderland mosque set to be approved today

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PLANS to build a new mosque in Sunderland are expected to be approved tonight.

Sunderland City Council officers have recommended that the development control committee gives the go-ahead to convert a transport depot in St Mark’s Road, Millfield, into an Islamic place of worship.

The application, which was submitted by the Pakistan Islamic Centre, drew 671 letters of objection. Most were based on two template letters. There was also a petition signed by 1,462 people.

The main reasons for objection were given as extra traffic, car parking problems, and noise and disturbance to neighbours.

However, in a report for tonight’s meeting, planning officers said: “The principle of the use of the land for the purposes of a place of worship, community and education centre ... is considered to be acceptable with due regard to policies of the council’s adopted Unitary Development Plan.

“The siting and design of the building is considered to be appropriate as the proposal relates to physical alterations to an existing stand alone transport depot to develop the site as a place of worship, community and education centre.

“The relationship between application building and surrounding residential and commercial properties is considered to be acceptable in visual terms.

“The impact of the proposal upon the surrounding highway network, and the provision of 32 marked on site car parking spaces, is considered to be acceptable for the nature of the use proposed.”

Planners added: “The proposed development would not cause demonstrable harm to any species afforded special protection by law.”

The recommendation to the meeting at the civic centre includes conditions, including parking provision, the scale of the development, loudspeaker systems and soundproofing.

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