Wembley mosque operates due to lack of 'challenge or complaint'
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A mosque in Wembley whose temporary planning permission expired more than 30 years ago has been allowed to continue to operate due to a lack of “challenge or complaint”.
Formerly a residential property, Wembley Masjid and Islamic Centre, in Stanley Avenue, was given formal permission by Brent Council to act as a mosque and educational centre from December 1988 to December 1990.
Following a change of ownership last year, the mosque’s trustees noticed the expiration date among the paperwork and said the previous management was under the impression the permission was “for life”.
Subsequently, a new planning application has been submitted to the council in a bid for legal recognition that it can operate as a mosque with additional teaching rooms and space for imams.
When asked why the council did not follow up on the expired permission, a spokeswoman explained there had not been any objections to its continued use as a mosque.
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She said: “During 2020 we were approached by the trustees of the mosque wishing to regularise the use of the building.
“Upon investigation, we identified that the premises was granted permission for use as a mosque on a temporary basis that expired in 1990.
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“Our records show that there has been no further interaction with the council on planning issues involving this property since that time.
“The use appears to have continued without challenge or complaint, which is why the council has not investigated and intervened during the past 30 years.”
Despite this lack of concern since the mosque first officially opened in 1988, the new planning application has been met with dozens of objections on the council’s planning portal and hundreds of emails to the council.
Many objectors suggested the mosque contributes to increased traffic and noise issues as worshippers travel to and from the site "in the middle of a congested row of terraced houses".
Others argued the nearby Wembley Central Mosque, in Ealing Road, which is around a ten-minute walk away from Stanley Avenue, would be a more suitable alternative.
Mohammad Khawaja, who has applied for the certificate of lawfulness, said many people “rely” on this mosque and suggested it “adds to part of the local culture and social cohesion”.