Islamic group defends plans for mosque in parking row
AMUSLIM group has become embroiled in a planning row for the second time in two years over a proposed mosque in Smethwick.
The scheme has led to several comments on a community Facebook page claiming it will cause serious traffic problems.
But the Gambian Islamic Centre has said fears that its proposed community centre and mosque in Bearwood Road would lead to parking chaos are unfounded.
Lamin Yaffa, the group’s chairman, defended the application which is asking permission to convert a former solicitor’s office into a place of worship, which could accommodate 250 people. More than 400 comments appeared on the Bearwood page against the plans.
Other posts pointed out that in 2016, the Gambian Islamic Centre was ordered to close its former mosque on Windmill Lane, Cape Hill, because of parking problems.
Lamin Yaffa insisted fears over parking had been overstated.
He said: “Smethwick is our home and our followers live in and around this area, so many of them will walk to or use public transport to come to pray.
“The busiest time will be Friday prayers but we don’t see 50 or 60 cars turning up to block local roads and during the rest of the week we expect maybe only ten to 15 people a day using the centre.”
The planning application states there would be parking on site for six cars but the centre plans to increase that to 15.
At the weekend, he explained, the building would serve as an education centre giving additional tuition to children.
Offering to speak with local people over their concerns, he added: “Smethwick is also our community and we live and work beside its residents. If they have concerns then contact us and we can talk about our plans and what we hope to do.”
The planning application is expected to be heard by Sandwell Council’s planning committee in October.
> The former solicitor’s office