Proposals for a ‘plain Jane’ development of a Muslim religious centre in Rotherham is to be replaced with a “rather beautiful” alternative following a decision by councillors, despite objections from residents who regard the new plan as out of character.
Planning permission was already in place for extensions at the Madrasah Raza-E-Mustafa in Broom Lane, which would see the building gain an additional storey and increase its ‘footprint’ on the site.
Now councillors have approved an alternative design for the building, which will see its internal floorspace increase slightly, though the main changes are to the appearance of the structure, which will feature a dome in the front wall, along with a new design for the windows, which are regarded as more in keeping with a religious building.
Coun Bob Walsh told the council’s planning board: “We are faced with a choice between two applications, last year’s was a bit of a plain Jane. This year we have something rather beautiful. I am in favour.”
Several residents spoke at the meeting to object to the design, which some regard as being out of character with the area, though planning officers believe it is suitable treatment for a religious building in an area of mixed designs.
However, the design now approved has a flat roof rather than a ‘hipped’ roof featured in the earlier plan and resident Ian Hill said there had been three large builds in Broom Lane in the 34 years he had lived there, with each featuring a hipped roof.
“I made an application for a gable extension which was refused and had to be resubmitted with a hip style roof.
“The (previous) application was granted on the grounds of it having a hip style roof. Are we going to go against the decision made last year, which sounds ludicrous?” he said.
Resident Doris Butterworth told the meeting there was no symbolic or spiritual reason for the change of design.
The meeting was told by a planning officer there was no specific style “which jumps out” in the area and that the design was appropriate for a religious building.