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News Code: 953


UK: Residents oppose plan to expand Dorking Muslim Centre by 600%

A DORKING mosque could increase to more than six times its present size, if a planning application is given the go-ahead.

The Dorking Muslim Community Association has submitted an application to add a dome to the top of the centre in Hart Road and drastically increase its size to allow more people to use the building.

If approved, the building will grow from its current 75sq m to 459sq m of floor space.

Some of the building's neighbours have said they are very concerned about the "inappropriate" development.

Among those opposing it is Hart Road resident Des Brennan. The 52-year-old told the Advertiser: "People are aghast that they want to do this. Our issue is simply with the size of the proposed building. It will mean that we are overlooked and it will affect the amount of light we get is limited and could mean extra noise."

The site is currently occupied by a mosque and car park and does not offer disabled or female toilet facilities.

The planning application seeks to extend the existing mosque to provide additional prayer facilities, meeting rooms, a computer room and a library.

Mr Brennan added: "This is a small residential road and a building of this size would be far better located on the edge of town where access is easier and the noise and traffic would not impact on the neighbours."

Colin Smith, whose house sits directly opposite the proposed development, said: "As I live directly opposite this building my house would be overshadowed, overlooked and suffer a loss of privacy.

"The proposed library and computer room on the second floor would allow direct views into all the rooms at the front of my house.

"I am also concerned that the sight lines from the front of my house would be completely dominated by the scale, mass and design of this building and that I would experience a significant loss of view."

The application was submitted to Mole Valley District Council by architect Alnoor Design and Building Services in Swansea, and includes a dome on top of the building.

The application adds: "The buildings on the site are well established but the community has outgrown the current building capacity

"The opportunity arises to develop the site into a facility fit for the 21st century."

The new building will also offer a disabled toilet, a separate female toilet and Wudu washing facilities, which are used to wash the body before prayer.

Women will also have their own prayer room and community library and IT facilities installed on the second floor.

The application concludes: "It is considered that the proposal represents good quality design that would preserve and enhance the local character and appearance.

"The site layout has been produced with key access and design criteria in mind in a suitable location."
Source: ABNA