York Mosque and Islamic Centre’s original £2 million scheme to replace its current building in Bull Lane was shelved last autumn because of technical issues, after the Environment Agency raised flooding concerns.
A new application has now been submitted to City of York Council, which is expected to make a decision by the end of August. Agents acting for the centre say the existing prayer hall would be demolished to make way for the new mosque.
The replacement building would have minarets and a green dome and include space for prayer and ablutions and accommodation for imams. The remainder of the current mosque, which has been used for more than 25 years, would also be refurbished.
A planning statement compiled by York-based consultants LHL Group said the mosque attracted between 250 and 300 people for the main prayer in the Muslim week, on Friday lunchtimes, and was also used by community groups, but was now too small.
“Over recent years, the existing buildings struggle to accommodate the peak demand,” said the company.
“The new facilities will provide accommodation which will meet the needs of the contemporary Muslim community both now and in the future.”
LHL Group said the existing mosque had space for 300 worshippers, but the replacement building would be able to accommodate 480 people in the main halls and 56 more in the exhibition room, which would be used as “a bridge between the mosque and the community” and be filled with Islamic literature, artefacts and the history of the site.
“The proposed development seeks to create a high-quality scheme which is both appropriate as a place of worship and relevant to its York context,” said the statement.
The original mosque proposals were opposed by the operators of the nearby Raylor Centre in James Street, who said they feared noise and traffic problems would be created, while North Yorkshire Police said it could attract “unwanted attention” from vandals because of its appearance and more security measures needed to be installed.
However, the Guildhall planning panel and local councillors backed the plans.