Decision made on second bid for hours of use restrictions to be lifted at former pub mosque and community centre
PUBLISHED: 19:04 08 June 2020
A bid to remove restrictions on hours of use at an Ipswich mosque have been refused for a second time, amid fears over noise impacts in the area.
The Nawracy Cultural Centre secured planning permission to change the use of the old Mulberry Tree pub in Woodbridge Road from a tavern to a mosque and community centre in March 2019, but was given restrictions for hours of use only between 10am and 10pm.
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Bosses at the mosque said the restrictions needed to be lifted to facilitate prayer times, which vary according to times of sunrise and sunset.
In the summer months prayer can be as early as 2.30am.
A bid to remove the hours of use restriction was refused by Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee in February amid fears of the noise impact it could have on nearby homes, and a fresh bid last week was narrowly refused by seven votes to five,
It was deemed that despite a noise report being submitted there was still no guarantee of keeping noise levels in check.
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Officers had recommended the restrictions be lifted to allow prayers for a period of one year.
Councillor Colin Kriedewolf said the mosque was a positive use for the old pub, but added that the previous rejection to lift hours of use restrictions was “to ensure the proposal remains compatible with the surrounding areas and in the interest of amenities”.
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He said: “I would ask, what had changed?”
A noise report was submitted which said that prayer noise levels had been assessed as well as sound levels from traffic, and said: “Traffic noise is the dominant noise source throughout the day and night”.
It added: “The assessment shows that the proposal will allow acceptable internal noise levels in all rooms or nearby dwellings, such levels will be quieter than existing traffic noise levels.
“It is highly unlikely that the noise from prayer or parking activities would be heard indoors.”
However, some councillors questioned the findings of that report, including councillor Sandra Gage, whose Rushmere ward contains some of Woodbridge Road. She said: “There is a significant difference in noise levels between daytime and evening levels of traffic”.
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A spokesman for the centre’s agents has been approached for comment, but in their application the trustees said: “The members of the congregation and management team wish to be good neighbours and the managing team will not see any problem in managing visitors at night to reduce any potential impact to the nearest homes.”
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