A controversial £18 million mosque plan was back in the frame for Dudley today – after a scaled down version for an alternative site was ruled out.
A plan to expand the existing Castle Hill mosque site hit a snag. It means a development which Dudley Muslim Association (DMA) has permission for in Hall Street is the only option on the table.
Dudley Council deputy leader Councillor Les Jones said talks were ongoing to try and find another option.
DMA chairman Khurshid Ahmed pledged to wait until the council “exhausted all options” before going ahead with Hall Street – but warned they would have no choice but to build there if no viable site could be found.
Councillor Jones said building a new mosque in Castle Hill and turning the existing building into a community centre was not possible because the council was blocked from acquiring land needed for the project.
“Because of technical issues it is unlikely the development of the existing mosque site in Castle Hill will go ahead,” he said.
“Discussions are ongoing about alternative sites.
“The Castle Hill site would involve acquisition of buildings and the only way that could be done to get everything to a position where planning permission could go ahead would involve compulsory purchase order powers.
“We cannot exercise those powers when there is pre-existing planning permission already in place for exactly what they are proposing elsewhere.”
Khurshid Ahmed said: “If there is an acceptable alternative we will consider it. We are not pursuing the current option until they have exhausted all their options.
“If they are not able to facilitate an alternative we have no option but to build at Hall Street.”
The new mosque capacity would be 750 – up from 47.
DMA got outline permission for a £18m mosque with a 65ft minaret, in a High Court ruling. It has until July to submit detailed plans to the council.
The council rejected initial plans but they were granted on appeal.
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