A MOSQUE will not be created in Purley in the foreseeable future after a protracted appeal for an Islamic centre was refused.
The Planning Inspectorate this week ruled that a mosque in Russell Hill Place would do "significant harm" to the town centre – putting an end to a nine-month appeal.
Purley Islamic Community Centre (PICC), the charity proposing the place of worship after local Muslims raised nearly £200,000, lodged the appeal after Croydon Council's planning committee refused their plan in March.
Opponents say they are "pleased" by the refusal and that a question mark no longer hangs over the future of the site.
Monir Mohammed, the high-flying businessman leading the charity, said: "It is very disappointing and a setback for the whole community. We will reflect on this decision and its implications and plan our next steps appropriately.
"We will explore all options and avenues and we will, of course, keep our community informed."
"We would like to acknowledge the help, support and guidance of all our community."
A report issued by the Inspectorate this week ruled that an increase in traffic on Russell Hill Place would cause "conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles", and "that there would be a greater number of cars generated by the proposal at peak times than the eight cars indicated".
This would exacerbate the "existing highway safety risks" as vehicles are forced to back onto Brighton Road when cars meet.
Although it agreed that the noise generated would not be enough to disturb residents in above flats, "an unacceptable erosion of the living conditions" of dwellers would result from worshippers coming and going five times a day at prayer times.
The report concluded: "The significant level of support for the proposal do[es] not outweigh the significant harm."
David Osland, chairman of Croydon Council's planning committee, said: "I am pleased it has been turned down and I sincerely hope the Muslim community soon finds a more suitable place for their place of worship."
PICC had already signed a contract for the old Venture photography building after laying down a five per cent deposit. However, contractual conditions mean the charity will receive the deposit back without further loss of funds. A fee of £312,000 had been agreed for the building.
Last month another PICC member submitted a £1.5 million bid for an old church in Haling Road, South Croydon, in an attempt to overthrow the Russell Hill Place plan, after dissent and dissatisfaction with Mr Mohammed from within the charity.