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No bid to turn former pub into mosque, say Ipswich council planners

PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:14 26 August 2018

The Mulberry Tree Pub closed last year. Picture: ARCHANT

The Mulberry Tree Pub closed last year. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

A planning application to turn a closed Ipswich pub into a community centre would not allow the building to be used as a mosque, it has emerged.

The application has been lodged with the borough council to turn the Mulberry Tree pub, which closed last year, into a community centre by the Nawarcy Cultural Centre.

The pub, on the junction of Woodbridge Road and St Margaret’s Street, is one of the best-known landmarks in the town centre and is opposite the former Odeon Cinema which is due to be converted into a church centre by the evangelical Hope Church.

A video labelled “Ipswich Mosque Advert” has been posted on Youtube appealing for funds for the Nawracy Cultural Centre in relation to the former pub.

It shows pictures of the interior of the building as it is now and also CGI images which appear to be the inside of a mosque.

However the planning application shows only minimal changes to the inside of the building.

A spokesman for Ipswich council said the planning application was only for a community centre – and if the new owners wanted to use it as a mosque they would have to seek a fresh planning permission to turn it into a place of worship.

There had been more than 350 letters of representation about the planning application – although officers had not yet been through them to establish whether they were in favour or against the application.

Council officials do not believe there is any link between this application and that to turn the former Rose and Crown pub in Norwich Road into a Kurdish community centre that resulted in work stopping and Bramford Road being closed for several weeks because of unsafe building work at the end of last year.

However they have not been able to make contact with the Nawracy Cultural Centre to find out whether it is planning to use the Mulberry Tree as a mosque – although there would be further attempts made to speak to the applicants before the issue comes before the borough’s development and planning committee next month.

We have attempted to contact the Nawracy Cultural Centre about the application – but no one has responded to our requests for information.

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