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Setback for controversial Blackburn prayer room bid
CONTROVERSIAL proposals for a Muslim prayer room in Blackburn which sparked hundreds of objections and a council standards inquiry have been put back to square one.
Planning permission to transform the car park of the former Beardwood Garden Centre into an Islamic religious centre granted last year has now been declared invalid.
This means that supporters will have to start the whole process of applying for borough council approval again.
Last year the plans were recommended for refusal by officers, but councillors voted 10 to five to grant permission creating a storm of complaints.
Blackburn with Darwen Council Standards Committee launched an investigation into the handling of the application. That inquiry has yet to report. Last night’s planning and highways committee will be told that because of irregularities over the ownership of land needed for the prayer room, the decision has no legal force.
A report said: “Members of the committee are advised that the planning application has been made invalid and has been withdrawn.”
Tory spokesman Alan Cottam welcomed the news: “I still think this prayer room would be in the wrong place.”