Willesden Green residents oppose mosque's housing block application
- Credit: Nathalie Raffray
Neighbours in Willesden Green have spoken out in opposition to a mosque's plans for a housing block.
The Central Mosque of Brent (CMB), in Station Parade, has submitted a revised application to redevelop its car park into a four storey block with parking spaces and 21 homes.
Dr Raja Amjid Riaz, chair of CMB, said: "The car park needs development, it's in a state of disrepair and it's an area that needs upgrading. We are trying to be as sensitive as possible."
Neighbours in Marley Walk, an estate opposite the mosque, with a single entry point for vehicles, met on July 21 to discuss their objections to the plans.
The Marley Walk Residents Association (MWRA) held a meeting to encourage neighbours to sign, send emails, or letters to the planning consultation, which ends on August 10.
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Tim Danby, MWRA secretary, said: "It's about us defending the quality of our lives, which is partially to do with our environment, of what we see - the sky or a huge monolith."
Residents say traffic and parking are already issues for the estate, with vehicles parked on double yellow lines.
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One resident said the dust and pollution during construction would "kill" her business, while another said his solar panels, bought from Brent Council, would be cast in shadow.
Cllr Janice Long, who represents Dudden Hill, attended the meeting and said she would "raise an action" about the parking with the council.
She said: "There's the building itself that is going to make things look different for everybody but is it going to be the end of the world if a block of flats is built?
"Then there's the parking. The people behind this application don't get how bad the parking is and building this block isn't going to change anything.
"The same amount of parking is in the proposed block that is in the car park."
She added: "I'm not agreeing to the application. I'm not going to support it until they acknowledge there is a parking problem and they've got to solve it whether this block of flats is built or not."
Matthew Khan, whose home faces the proposed block, said: "I put sun panels on my roof because Brent council promoted them, now Brent Council are in a position of deciding on whether they are going to allow shadow to fall on the solar panel that I bought because Brent Council convinced me. That presents to me a conflict."
He added: "This whole proposal, there are two parties that stand to gain. Brent will meet it's housing targets, the mosque will make money on the flats while we live here, a couple of hundred people, on a single access road. We're not gaining anything."
Adele Tay, who runs her cake business, Vivre Sans Gluten, from her home, fears the dust and pollution that would come from construction.
"My kitchen is at the front of this place. The pollution and dust will be a risk to my business and how it will be affected.
"I don't want dust coming on to my cakes and I can't close my windows when I'm baking."
Dr Riaz said every Friday he reminds the congregation to be mindful of the neighbours and not to come by car, or to park properly.
He added: "We are running a charity, a mosque and multiple community projects and all these projects are funded entirely on donations. We are trying to help and work with the local community.
"We will hold an open day with residents now restrictions are lifted. If the pandemic has taught us anything, the best way forward is to work together."