The former Lingfield pub in Moortown is now owned by the UKIM charity (UK Islamic Mission) with owners planning to transform it into a welfare centre which they say will be a hub for the whole community.
The new facility will have a public gym, IT suite, library, training room and café, as well as a prayer room for up to 70 people.
A planning application for the scheme is expected to come before planning chiefs soon an open day and exhibition is expected to be held later this month.
However it has led to a flurry of objections from people who say they are worried about traffic issues. Around 50 locals attended a recent public meeting, and similar numbers have written objection letters.
Ian Greenberg, chair of the Lingfield and Fir Trees Residents’ Association, said the nature of the application had nothing to do with the objections.
“The problem really is with the amount of traffic that is going to be created,” he told the YEP. “And there are not enough parking spaces.
“A lot of people will be using transport to access the building. It does not matter what it is used for, a hospital, cemetery, church, synagogue or mosque.”
Mohammed Arif, deputy chairman of the Leeds branch of UKIM, insisted there was “ample room for close to 100 car parking spaces” once amendments were made.
“We are confident parking will not be an issue,” he said. “There has been a lot of paranoia. To say that it’s just a parking issue is just not true.
“But we want this place to be for everyone. There will be a gym which will be open to the whole community, meeting rooms for hire at discount for locals, a public library, café area and free Wi-Fi.
“We want to turn this completely disused building into something worthwhile.”
He stressed the building was “not a mosque, but it will have prayer facilities” and added he was “very keen to have the views and opinions of the local community”.