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Call for Blackburn prayer room site to be returned to woodland
5:00pm Tuesday 30th October 2012 in News
RESIDENTS want a parcel of land in Blackburn earmarked for a controversial Muslim prayer room returned to woodland instead.
Beardwood residents believe extending their area’s “green lung” is a better use for the former garden centre car park.
The residents, including model steam train engineer Michael Ousby, made their call after the proposal, which sparked hundreds of objections, was blocked because of a dispute over the parcel of land.
Because Blackburn with Darwen Council owns a small plot, the planning permission was declared invalid.
Now Mr Ousby, of The Coppice, and nearby residents want the council-owned plot returned to trees. They have been backed by local councillor Michael Lee, leader of the council Tory group.
Mr Ousby said: “The prayer room is an inappropriate use of this land. We would prefer to see it returned to the woodland it used to be, attached to existing trees on Beardwood Walk, for local people, and dog walkers to use.
Coun Lee said: “I support the residents over this. The prayer room would be better at Beardwood School, where there is adequate carparking.
“Returning the car park to woodland is certainly an option worth exploring.”
Declaring the permission invalid means supporters of the prayer room must start the process of seeking borough council approval again.