COMPROMISED plans to resite a controversial new central mosque in Accrington have been drawn up by Hyndburn council.
The borough’s ruling cabinet will be asked next month to approve a revised plan to locate the large Islamic worship and community centre in Grimshaw Street rather than Steiner Street as originally proposed in 2009.
The new proposal has been branded ‘a fudge’ by Tory group boss Peter Britcliffe, leader of the council when the original plan was agreed at a special cabinet meeting three years ago.
Current council leader Miles Parkinson rejected that claim saying it was ‘a fantastic compromise’.
The committee of the Raza Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre (RJM) originally supported the idea of the Steiner Street site but after extensive discussion agreed the new location, in Grimshaw Street, opposite their existing mosque.
At the cabinet meeting in June 2009 there were claims that building a large mosque could upset race relations in West Accrington.
Now Mr Parkinson and his deputy Clare Pritchard believe a better solution has been found. He said the previous plan had foundered due to problems over the site being only leasehold rather than freehold. If the Mosque committee agree to buy the Grimshaw Street site from the council and get planning permission, this would be resolved as it would be in its full ownership.
Coun Parkinson hailed ‘a fantastic compromise’, adding: “I now want to develop the Steiner Street site in a way that will bring jobs to the borough.”
Coun Britcliffe said: “This is a fudge. If they had not found a compromise, cabinet member Munsif Dad and Labour’s Asian councillors would have been in an untenable position.”
Coun Pritchard said: “These were controversial proposals and this solution meets the needs of everyone.”