The Chingford Islamic Society (CIS) claims some of its regular 237 worshippers are forced to pray on the pavement due to a lack of space at the Chingford Masjid in Chingford Mount Road, the only mosque in E4.
But Waltham Forest Council’s planning committee turned down the organisation’s second attempt to take over the vacant shop next door last night (September 12) on the grounds of overdevelopment and parking congestion, after receiving 1,000 objections to the plans.
Larkswood ward councillor Bernadette Mill spoke against the application, and said: “It was a difficult issue but it was certainly a victory for people who have contacted us, angry about the plans.
“It’s so cramped there and we have people who are forced to park four or five streets away which is unacceptable after a hard day’s work. It was a tense atmosphere there but we got the right result.”
The application had been due to be refused by council officers but Leyton councillor Farooq Qureshi intervened to ensure it was heard by the full committee.
When questioned on his involvement Cllr Qureshi said that as a councillor he had a duty to represent all of Waltham Forest.
A total of 1,500 people had signed petitions in support of the expansion and CIS had said worshippers would be encouraged to cycle to the mosque rather than go by car, as well as walking.
But Cllr Mill said she wants to work with the CIS to find a new site for a larger mosque.
“We just want to try and find a solution that helps everbody,” she added.