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Group preparing to topple leader of Purley mosque bid if appeal refused

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DISAFFECTED Muslims are preparing to launch a petition to topple the high-flying businessman leading the bid for a Purley mosque if the site in question is refused on appeal.

A decision on whether to grant permission for an Islamic centre in Russell Hill Place is due in the next few weeks after charity Purley Islamic Community Centre (PICC) lodged an appeal with the planning inspectorate.

But the bid has been thrown into disarray with some of PICC's own members contacting the inspectorate demanding it be refused, the Advertiser has learned.

This, they say, is because the planning application for the mosque has been inaccurate from the outset.

After discovering the dissent, Monir Mohammed, trustee of PICC, circulated the names of the objectors in an e-mail to members of the Muslim community.

However, one of the recipients, who forwarded the e-mail to the Advertiser, said about "95 per cent" of those who donated money towards PICC's almost £200,000 pot are against the Russell Hill Place site.

"The site is not suitable because it is not big enough," they said.

"There are about 300 Muslim families in Purley, which make up about 1,000 people, and it only stated it would need to serve about 150 in the planning proposal.

"If the appeal is refused, we are planning to launch a petition and have PICC dissolved because we're not happy with the way it has been handled."

As a result, people who have made donations to the project have lost faith in Mr Mohammed.

The Advertiser contacted the PICC trustee but he insisted all was well with the ongoing plan.

However, the Advertiser understands 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.

A contract for the old Venture Photography building, for which the sum of £312,000 has been agreed, has been signed and a deposit paid.

However, PICC will receive the 5 per cent deposit back if the appeal – launched after Croydon Council turned down the initial application in March – is refused.

Croydon Council Purley councillor Badsha Quadir said: "There was a reason why this application was refused by the council's planning committee and I hope the problems are resolved soon."

A spokesman for the Planning Inspectorate said a decision will be reached on the Purley site within the next few weeks.

Group preparing to topple leader of Purley mosque bid if appeal refused


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