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?