JACK Straw has called on councillors to dismiss a new bid for a mosque in a Blackburn terrace house.
In 2011, Farooq Mohammed applied for retrospective planning consent for the place of worship above his Ashrafi Study Centre Madrassah, in Accrington Road, Audley.
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning committee refused the proposal because of objections over noise and nuisance from neighbours and ordered the mosque to cease operations.
Mr Mohammed, who has operated an Islamic school for 75 pupils at the premises between 5pm and 7.30pm with planning permission since July 2009, has now tabled a second bid for a smaller mosque on the ground floor only.
A maximum of 20 worshippers would attend at any one time.
Neighbours, Blackburn MP Mr Straw and Father Martin Daniels, of nearby St Jude’s Church, have objected again to the siting of a mosque in the house.
Councillors have been recommended by officers to refuse the application. They say the levels of noise and general disturbance remains too high to be acceptable in planning terms.
Next door neighbours Paolo and Kelly Fardella have written to the council saying: “Although the level in which the mosque will operate has changed in the current application from first floor to ground floor, we feel that the level of noise when all the worshippers are there will not change, not to mention the calls to pray that regularly disturb us.”
Mr Straw said using terraced houses as mosques was no longer necessary, or appropriate, to allow Muslims to practise their faith.
He added: “There are plenty of mosques nearby”
Mr Mohammed’s agent Imran Patel, of Compass Architectural Consultants, said: “We have no comment to make before the meeting.”