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'Illegal' mosque in Cricklewood is given permission to continue by Camden Council

PUBLISHED: 14:45 01 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:30 01 October 2015

This mini market has been used as part clothes shop- part- makeshift mosque since 2012 (Picture credit: Adam Thomas)

This mini market has been used as part clothes shop- part- makeshift mosque since 2012 (Picture credit: Adam Thomas)

Archant

A mosque which has been illegally operating in a shop in Cricklewood can continue doing so after the council granted it permission.

Banadir Stars Mini Market on Cricklewood Broadway, have sold clothes at the front of the shop while worshippers participate in prayers and lessons in a hidden carpeted storage area in the back since 2012.

The shop, which was initially refused permission to operate as a community centre in 2012, has also previously been used as a mini-cab office.

Religious leaders at the shop claim they have been unable to find alternative premises in the Cricklewood area and pleaded with the council to allow them two years to find a permanent home.

Camden Council granted their request but stipulated the mosque must not have more than 35 worshippers on the premises.

The decision has angered locals such as James Earl, a member of Fordwych Residents Association, who objected to the extended permission.

He told councillors at a meeting of Camden Council’s development control committee that residents were not concerned by the religious use of the premises but expressed concerns about community tensions due to disturbance and inappropriate use of the shop.

He said: “It’s a very odd situation and again Camden Council has infuriated residents by giving them an extra 12 months last year and now another two years. They are taking the planning council for a ride.

“I am baffled they can’t find anywhere else.

“The simple fact is that this is the premises of small shop and it’s completely unsuitable to be used as a community centre.”

“Illegal use has continued to cause considerable problems for local residents. The site has inadequate entrance for illegal use and is regular disturbance to local residents, one of whom is now so fed up he’s selling his home and moving from the area.”

Speaking before the meeting, he told the Times: “Some people are concerned they will be criticised for being islamophobes but it’s absolutely not a religious issue or anything to do with Muslims generally.”

A council spokesman told the Times: “A management plan was submitted with the application to ensure clear measures are in place to ensure the facility operates in a way that is sensitive to the needs of neighbouring occupiers while it continues.”

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