Planning Permission Granted For Replacement Normacot Mosque

Normacot’s Muslim Community was granted full planning permission today to build a replacement mosque on the opposite side of Chaplin Road to where the original building lies.

Approval for planning was voted through without any votes against or abstentions at a meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Development Management Committee.

There were no members of public present to raise any objections to the plans. The city council had only received three letters of protest during the application protest.

As a condition, building work must commence on the new mosque within three years of the date that the planning permission was granted.

Councillor Ann James raised concerns over the increased traffic in the area and the fact that there were already parking issues when the current mosque was busy.

The planning officer was able to allay her fears by informing the meeting that the mosques trust had purchased additional land alongside the existing mosque and that both sites would be used for parking.

The height of the building including the minaret will be no more than 1.5 metres higher that the adjacent block of apartments.

The mosque trust will also have to adhere to a number of conditions.

A) The provision of a traffic management scheme and if required, a controlled parking zone.
B) Covered cycle parking facilities provided within the site.
C) A detailed Travel plan that sets out how the mosque users and the trust intend to reduce the reliance on private motor cars.
D) A landscaping plan that details the treatment of all ground surfaces, tree and shrub planting, finished level of contours.
E) Announcements and calls to prayer using external amplification shall not take place except on Fridays, Eid Days and during the holy month of Ramadan. On these days they shall not take place before 07.30 or after 20.00 hours. The announcements or calls shall last no longer than two minutes and shall not exceed a volume of 60dBL at source.

The call to prayer issue has already been addressed.

The Mosque trust have already stated that it would be announced through an internal PA system 5 minutes before the actual prayer meeting takes place. The previous permission was subject to a condition which limited the volume and times that prayer calls could take place and it is suggested that a similar condition be used, now that planning had been granted.

Members of the mosque trust were present in the chamber to hear the news of their successful application.

New Mosque for Stoke-on-Trent South ““ What’s the Issue?

Yesterday’s Sentinel contained a story about the proposed new Mosque at the top of Chaplin Road in Normacot and surprise surprise it has attracted well over a 100 comments.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the story at all, but the comments left on the website shows that this kind of issue always brings out the extremes in our society.

The mosque in question will be built to replace the existing mosque on the opposite side of the road, yet you would think that this building was just being planted on the Normacot landscape with no prior history.

This mosque, the land on which it will sit, plus additional land/buildings which will be turned into car parking, has been brought and paid for by members of the Normacot community. There is no council/government windfall that is funding this project, just the hard work and endeavours of the Asian community who want a place of worship that is fir for purpose.

The new building will replace an old derelict pottery that was, until it was demolished, an eyesore and blot on the landscape.

This new mosque will be an attractive property that will be landscaped, have arched windows and a domed roof with a minaret. In my opinion it will be a vast improvement on what was there previously.

Reading the comments left on the Sentinel website made me question the mentality of some people.

Here are just a few examples:

“ I hope the councillors reject this preposterous idea of building a second mosque in the City!”
“Welcome to Great Britain….NOT”
“well it as not taken long for this to happen as it? when will you lot learn that the labour party is run buy asains so this will get the rubber stamp. should have voted BNP ?? how stupid you are! just wake up
“what a joke, another mosque at a cost of £1.5 million, where do they get the money from? this labour party is a load of bull who will grant permission for mosques but nothing else. we need more work places built or houses for BRITISH people, its not us being racist, its LABOUR”
“William Blake’s imortal song ” Jerusalem ” will have to be written to accommodate these mosques soon i fear :
‘Till we have built ISLAMABAD In England’s green and pleasant land’
“The people of Stoke only have themselves to blame for this. You got what you voted for and boy did you. Everyone of you had the chance to vote BNP in may and you didnt. If you had then you would of had BNP councellors on the council to reject it and most likely of had the plans scrapped. I have no simpathy for you cos you had the chance to have your say in may and you were silent. NO POINT SHOUTING NOW”

And this in a City that has just voted every last politician of a far right persuasion out of the council chamber.

The fact is that the Normacot community want a bigger building than the one that is there at the moment so they want to replace it ““ why is that such an issue.

Just three letters of objection were sent to the council raising the following concerns:

1. The existing mosque already creates nuisance which would be exacerbated by the proposed development.
2. The scheme would create traffic danger.
3. The building would be an eyesore.
4. There is no need for another mosque as there are others around the city

A letter of support was sent by the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent South Rob Flello stating that he supports the development of all faith and religious organisations in the area and considers that allowing them to develop new places of worship helps these groups thrive. He considers that the proposal will be a welcome addition to the wider community.

One concern I do have relates to parking. Friday’s can be a bit of a nightmare for motorists in the area and often cars are double parked or parked illegally around the site of the existing mosque.

The main highway issue is parking. The mosque is intended to serve the local community and as there are mosques in other parts of the city, a large proportion of worshipers are expected to bewithin walking distance. There is also a bus service passing the site.

Notwithstanding this, parking remains an issue and it is evident that there is significant demand for on-street parking at the busiest times at the existing mosque. A total of 39 parking spaces is proposed in the current application, the majority of which would be on the northern part of the site. The outline scheme would have provided 53 spaces in an underground car park. Although on a parking space / floorspace ratio, the current provision would be more or less the same as before (because of the smaller size of building now proposed), the overall number of visitors is likely to be the same. If there are not enough spaces to satisfy the demand, congestion could occur as visitors try to enter the car park when full. It is therefore suggested that the applicants use a permit system so that those in most need of a parking space could be allocated one. This could be arranged through a travel plan which is included at condition 4..

In addition to the off-site arrangements it was considered appropriate in relation to the outline application for funding to be provided for the introduction of parking controls in the area should they prove to be necessary. This would be returned after three years if parking problems had not occurred. This was controlled through a S106 agreement. The same arrangement is considered appropriate in this instance. The outline permission was also conditional to traffic calming measures being provided within the vicinity of the mosque and again these should be provided.

The submitted travel plan is generally good including targets and measures to reduce single occupancy car trips to the site. The final details of this will need to be agreed by condition but subject to this, and the provisions referred to above, the development is considered to be acceptable in highway terms and is in accordance with policiesT1A and T18A.

The other issue is the myth about the call to prayer and how it will be heard all over the south of the city. Again the council planning office has built in restrictions to protect residents of any noise pollution.

The applicants have indicated that they would like to operate a call to prayer which would be announced through an internal PA system 5 minutes before the actual prayer meeting takes place. The previous permission was subject to a condition which limited the volume and times that prayer calls could take place and it is suggested that a similar condition be used, should the current application be approved.

Planning officers conclude their report with the recommendation that the proposal be approved.

That will not deter the dissenters of course and those who wish to turn the issue of worship into a political debate.

Rumours are circulating around the south of the city that the BNP have seized this issue and are set for a robust leaflet campaign. Internet forums are hinting that the English Defence League may use this issue to make a return visit to our city.

Finally, if like this contributor:

This protracted debate indicates what is increasingly wrong with this site. The irksome debate of how many dancing pinheads are involved in far right local politics is an unhealthy obsession with the author of the article. Surely it would be to the benefit of everyone that we concentrate on finding solutions to those seemingly intractable problems that drive the disillusionment with main stream politics such as unemployment, poverty, low wages and poor levels of attainment?

you are left wondering why I am sensitive about issues like this and the danger of the far right in the City of Stoke-on-Trent, just read this taken from today’s Stoke England First Website and then ask yourselves where the real danger comes from?

No sooner is the pisspoor excuse for an election over, than that bastard Pervez is at it again.

The plans for a terrorist training camp in Normacot; oops, sorry, that should read plans for a new mosque in Normacot; are back on the table, and that tubby immigrant is driving forward his plans to colonise Stoke-on-Trent with his muzzie brethren by building mosques in every part of the city, making sure that that the vast majority of taxi services are muslim based- an unfair monopoly- that public swimming pools are closed so his mate Mo can rip off even more people with his sky high charges, and now with the re-appearance of that far left bum bandit Meredith, they will flood the city with even more immigrants, like the overspill from Birmingham currently turning the north of the city into a black enclave!

Take a look at the voluntary bodies handed £millions every year by the city council. Look at VAST, and who runs it, look at the Dudson centre and who runs it, listen to their bullshit about what an important service they perform for the city, then do like me and several colleagues did, and take a good close look at their finances.

Perfoming an important service for the city?

Bollocks, the majority of the money that goes through the doors of places like this is taken up in salaries and pension payments!

“ËœUnemployment, poverty, low wages and poor levels of attainment’ make for attitude like this do they? Somehow I think that it is a whole lot more to do with hatred.

I pose the following to the reader:

Does the danger to our city and the people who live here come from the building of a new mosque for the Muslim population of the south of the city?

Or from far right extremists who display a lack of tolerance, respect and attitudes like this?

Merkel Questions Germany’s Multicultural Experiment

The issue of immigration now forcing it’s way on to the Europe wide agenda.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stirred up a storm of controversy by describing Germany’s attempt to build a multicultural society an utter failure.

In a speech to the youth wing of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on Saturday, she said:

“At the beginning of the 60s our country called the foreign workers to come to Germany and now they live in our country.”

She added: “We kidded ourselves a while, we said: ‘They won’t stay, sometime they will be gone’, but this isn’t reality.”

“And of course, the approach to build a multicultural society and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other… has failed, utterly failed.”

Whilst at pains to point out that immigrants are welcome in Germany, Merkel went on to say that the concept of multiculturism, one where people would “live side-by-side” happily, did not work, and immigrants needed to do more to integrate, including learning German.

Her comments were thought to be aimed at Germany’s 4.3million Muslims. There are around 3000 mosques in the country.

She spoke about her fear that German-ness’ may eventually be lost and her concerns about headscarves in classrooms and Turkish ghettos in cities like Berlin.

“We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity ““ that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.”

A recent poll suggested that 30% of the population of Germany had concerns that their country is being overrun with immigrants.

I am concerned that Germany is following the likes of Belgium and France whose political direction is heading for an uncomfortable rush to the far right following recent debates about banning the Burkha.

I’m all for a sensible discussion about Immigration but all this talk of mutlicultural experiments failing is all wrong.

Germany, just like the United Kingdom, invited immigrants into their country 40-50 years ago when there was a shortage of labour to undertake certain undesirable jobs.

Those immigrants have gone on to have families, 2nd and third generations now play an active part in society.

Here is Stoke-on-Trent I do share the frustration regarding the lack of racial integration in parts of our city.

I have spent a lot of time in cities like Birmingham, Leicester, London and parts of Lancashire, on business. I have witnessed first hand, different cultures living and working side by side. I have seen the respect and tolerance of the different cultures that exist in these progressive societies.

It is fair to say that certain cultural differences may prevent the closest of friendships in some cases but never the less there can be a mutual respect.

A few years ago i was the Chair of an award winning multicultural group set up with the aim of breaking down some of the prejudices that existed predominately in the south of the city.

Parents from both the Muslim community mixed with white parents to encourage their children to adopt a tolerant approach to life in our city.

This group did some great work, barriers were broken down, but i would be lying to suggest it was without difficulties.

There was a real reluctance for some people in the Asian community to get involved.

Until we all promote a society where there is a sensible, commonsense approach to immigration and a real desire for cross cultural integration, progress will be very slow indeed.

There are simply too many quangos and one sided community groups that promote the needs of one culture over another.

There needs to be a simple society charter that agrees to let the different cultures exist and celebrate the diversity whilst promoting a one society ethos which can come together for the greater good of our city/country.

If we fail to do this, at some point in the future, the extremes of the communities will spill their bile out onto the rest of our tolerant society.

People like the Chell Heath racist must never be allowed to influence the young people of today who will become the multi- cultural adults of tomorrow.

The same must be said about the extremists in the Asian Community.

I am completely sold on the notion of a multicultural society. Yes it’s going to take some work, yes there needs to be some give and take, but I think we could make it work… Don’t you?

Or do we take the fall back, vote capturing view of the German Chancellor? Which in my view is a complete cop out!

City Council Give Advice To Schools On The Care Of Islamic Pupils In The Fasting Month Of Ramadan

Some jobsworth at the city council as taken it on his/herself to issue an 11 page guide for school staff on how to care for Islamic children if they are fasting in the daylight hours in the month of Ramadan.

Faced with massive council cutbacks some brains of Briton as pulled this idiots guide together has some children of the Muslim religion may still be fasting when the school year starts up again in September.

In the paper, it says Islamic pupils should not take part in swimming lessons. Although swimming is acceptable to Muslims in Ramadan. The idiot who put this together is worried some water may well be swallowed. It also goes to pains to point out to staff the effects of getting up early to have something to eat before sunrise. It also explains the tell tale signs of dehydration and that sex education should no be given to them past puberty as sexual thoughts are also to be avoided in the daylight.

Ramadan starts on the 11th August and lasts until September 9th, anyone tell me what date the kids go back School after the summer hols, because I have not a clue. During this time devout Muslims fast in the between sunrise and sunset, its up to them. Good on em’ for having the conviction to do it.

Lets face fact here, its been going on for a good many years, thousands in fact, and the best people to guide the children who wish to fast are the wider Islamic community, not some fool hiding out in the back office of the Civic Centre. Its not got a lot to do with them, and if a teacher can not see the signs of a child being tired or dehydrated, they really should not be in the job.

It goes as far as to say that those having a free school meal should get a packed one to take home. Myself, I’m at a loss about that one, don’t know about you lot.

How I’m seeing this is Ramadan’s like Christmas, without the drinking and the Ham Roast on Boxing Day. It comes round every year, just not at the same time as it goes on the cycle of the moon. There as been times when the full month of daylight fasting falls within schooling time, and I have never heard of anything like this being sent out.

OK, open for debate, your thoughts please.

Faith leaders in Stoke unite against racist English Defence League

Faith leaders from the main religious groups across Stoke-on-Trent will today make a united stand against a proposed march by the racist English Defence League which is expected to take place in Stoke on Saturday.

 Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Sikh leaders will light a candle and sign a pledge of unity outside Stoke Minster (the church of St Peter ad Vincula) opposite Stoke Town Hall.

 The Church of England Bishop of Stafford, the Right Revd Gordon Mursell, will be amongst the faith leaders taking part in the act of unity.  He said:

“If Stoke-on-Trent is to have a good future, it is absolutely vital that all its citizens, irrespective of creed and background, work together for the common good.  We believe that real diversity actually helps create a vibrant and attractive city.  The EDL and BNP think the opposite. That is why we oppose them.”

 His words were echoed by the Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop for North Staffordshire, the Right Revd David McGough, who said:

“We must all oppose any extremism that would play on peoples’ fears and anxieties to divide our city and set one section of our community against another.”

 Gurmeet Singh Kallar, a member of Stoke’s Gurdwara, said:

“As Sikhs we believe that all people are important to God and we are against the persecution of any group or minority.”

 The Revd Peter Barber, Chair of the Chester and Stoke on Trent Methodist Circuit said:

“As faith leaders we have a special duty to show that different communities can live together is harmony and mutual respect.  We oppose those who would try to divide us by hate and fear.”

 Lloyd Cooke, chief executive of the Saltbox Christian Centre, a North Staffordshire faith-based networking organisation, said:

“The people of Stoke-on-Trent are both friendly and tolerant.  We are therefore opposed to any event or group which seeks to cause division or mischief and results in stirring up bad feeling."