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SPLIT DECISION: Community divided over plans for new mosque in Northwood

 Published on: 28th March 2022   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Plans for a new place of worship and community centre in Northwood submitted to Hillingdon Borough Council (HBC) has split local residents.

Some approve of the new development, to potentially be located on the site of the former police station on Murray Road, which is designed to both be a place of worship and provide a space for family gatherings and youth-focused activities, according to owners, Islamic charity the Iron Aid Foundation.

However, others are concerned about the location of the venue, believing it will contribute to further traffic and parking issues in the area. Many residents have taken online to express their opinion.

Nick Harrison, who lives nearby, said: “The fact is most people will come from outside Northwood, which means they will drive in.

“I fear chaos for those of us living here and especially those on Murray Road and Maxwell. And CO2 emissions will go through the roof.”

Another resident, Surinder Lall, agreed: “I have no issue with places of worship, and I’m pleased that Northwood caters for people of faith. I also have no issue with a mosque being built in Northwood but parking at the proposed site is an absolute nightmare.

“There are a limited number of spaces as it is and it’s a fight for survival just to get a parking space at the best of times.”

Others however disagree, welcoming the idea, such as Jamie Reeves, who said: “I think the application does need to address parking (it may already) before approval, but otherwise it’s a good idea and the community centre there will be available for everyone to use.”

Saad Khan, replying to another resident who disagreed with the proposal, said: “I understand the concerns around parking however believe you may be vastly overestimating the number of people who will use the mosque.

“The vast majority will only use it for Friday midday prayers, which lasts approximately for an hour I am sure people driving in can use Green Lane car par or other paid parking nearby to reduce congestion.”

Resident Aiysha Malik also stated: “The local Muslim community have been using local space (in the centre of Northwood, one street along) for a very long time and it’s interesting that many people haven’t noticed, and most people walk there. 

“The benefit of having a local facility (school, GP surgery, library, supermarket, place of worship etc) means that people can walk or cycle. Harrow and Watford have larger mosques which serve those local communities.”

When contacted for comment, Iron Aid Foundation chairperson Tariq Zaman said: “We have been rooted in the local community for more than 12 years, most recently at the United Reformed Church, a mere 400 metres from the former Police station, where we have run more than a decade’s worth of community activities. 

“Bringing back in to use the dilapidated, iconic Grade II Listed Metropolitan Police Station will allow us to seamlessly continue to provide services to the local community. 

“I would like to thank both the Ark Synagogue and Northwood United Synagogue for their support for our application, alongside our long-term partners St John’s United Reformed Church”.

HBC have been contacted for comment. A decision is expected on April 7.

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