Permission granted for 24/7 prayer at Mulberry Tree community centre

The Mulberry Tree, Ipswich

The former Mulberry Tree was converted into a community centre. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

An application for the place of worship at Mulberry Tree Public House to open 24 hours a day has been approved, subject to conditions. 

A community centre and place of worship was set up at the former pub on Woodbridge Road in 2019, but as demand from the Muslim community grew, so did the need for a change in opening hours. 

The application to remove the condition that limited opening to between 10am and 10pm was initially rejected in 2019 and then again in 2020. 

Following an appeal, permission was granted for the site to open between 7am and 11pm, and this use was monitored over the course of one year - until January 2022 - to assess the impact. 

Ipswich Borough Council's planning committee approved the changes to the conditions on Wednesday. 

The report presented to councillors at the planning meeting stated that no complaints were received within that period about the longer opening times. 

It stated: "Given the absence of complaints during the allowed temporary period it is recommended that continued use for daily prayer between 11pm and 7am is permitted long term." 

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This is under the condition that these hours are only available for those undertaking daily prayer, that windows are kept shut and efforts are made to ensure that people leave quietly. 

Additional noise restrictions have also been placed on the pub between the hours of 11pm and 7am to limit disturbance to neighbours in the surrounding residential areas. 

In documents submitted with the application, the owners of the place of worship said: "Due to the community members' working patterns and hours some members would like to pray at different times than were specified in the original application.  

"It is also part of the Muslim culture that are different times for prayer throughout the day and this is based on the sunrise and sunset." 

First prayer in the month of August can be between 3.30am and 4.30am, but this changes throughout the year. 

Councillors agreeing to lift the condition that prevented opening before 10am and after 10pm means that the community will be able to access prayer space at all times of the day.