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Hyndburn mosque plans hit land hitch
TALKS on a major new mosque have hit a stalemate over the ownership of land.
Plans for landscaped gardens surrouding a mosque along the gateway into Accrington initially gained council backing when first raised in 2009.
A Hyndburn Council meeting found the option to be the best available, if it was combined with a community centre.
Now, however, religious leaders and the council are said to have hit a roadblock on whether the council-owned land, at Steiner Street, should be made available freehold or leasehold.
Leader of the council Miles Parkinson said he has received a letter from the Grimshaw Street Mosque committee which said the leasehold offered by the council is ‘unacceptable’.
The mosque committee said the mosque should be built on land owned free and clear.
However Coun Parkinson said a lease agreement is essential for the council to have input on the development.
He also added a freehold arrangement would be unacceptable financially.
Coun Parkinson said financial pressures on the council are now greater: “To sell the land freehold, it would be a one-off payment to the council and we would then have no say on how things took shape.
“To sell it for community use would only see £350,000 generated whereas a smaller commercial site would be something like £1million. Most importantly, the community would have little say after that point.
“If we released it freehold we would not be able to act on any community concerns regarding the land.”
The Grimshaw Street Mosque Committee and West Accrington Residents’ Association were behind the original plans for an ‘iconic’ mosque to replace two smaller mosques demolished as part of renewal schemes.
Tariq Ali, chairman of West Accrington Residents' Association, said: “I just hope an agreement can still be found.
“It is a perfect idea for this site, with a mosque for the Muslim population and the community centre for the wider population.”
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