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New bid to allow night-time prayers at Kurdish Centre in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 07:30 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:55 19 February 2020

The Mulberry Tree has been converted into a Kurdish Centre. Picture: ARCHANT

The Mulberry Tree has been converted into a Kurdish Centre. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Leaders of the new Kurdish Centre in the former Mulberry Tree pub on Woodbridge Road in Ipswich have applied to remove opening restrictions to allow members to meet for prayers.

At present the centre can only be open between 10am and 10pm each day - but that restricts use of a new prayer room.

The first prayer of the day has to be said before dawn, and during the summer this can be as early as 2.30am - but this is outside the permitted hours of use.

The trustees of the Nawracy Community Centre, which runs the building, have now applied for the restriction to be removed to allow the centre to be used at any time.

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A previous attempt to remove the restriction was refused by the borough in July last year - but it has now re-applied because, it says, more members have asked to be able to attend prayers at the centre.

In its application to the council it points out that the Fajr Prayer has to be said before dawn and in August this can be between 3.30am and 4.30am and in June, when there is the longest day of the year, Fajr Prayer should be said at 2.30am.

The application says there would be six officials from the centre ensuring that there was no noise from people attending the prayer sessions. People would be told to park away from nearby houses and there would be no talking outside.

They say: "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."

However the proposed change could cause problems for some people - the initial application for the centre had to be withdrawn and re-submitted after it did not include details of the prayer room. That meant it had to be considered as a Place of Worship.

And the concerns over the opening hours are likely to remain a serious issue for members of the planning committee - they were a key condition when it was given permission because of the number of people living in the area and because of fears of noise in the middle of the night from worshippers arriving at and leaving the centre.

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