Mosque inquiry over extension

A SHEFFIELD mosque has secured a public inquiry into a council decision ordering it to remove temporary buildings used to house classes for youngsters.

The Masjid-E-Umar mosque, on the corner of Barnsley Road and Osgathorpe Road, Pitsmoor, set up the classrooms four years ago to house part of its Madrassah, or Islamic school. It provides evening religious classes for youngsters.

After discovering the temporary buildings had been erected, Sheffield Council asked the mosque to apply for retrospective planning permission.

This was then refused and an enforcement notice issued ordering the mosque to remove them.

A council report says: "The buildings are out of scale and character with neighbouring buildings, and are also of different design, unco-ordinated not only to the buildings on the land but to themselves due to differing scale, form and architectural styles."

It adds access to the classrooms is "potentially unsafe" and there is no suitable disabled entrance.

But Abdul Khayum, of the mosque committee, appealed and has secured a public inquiry. An inspector will listen to evidence from both sides and review the decision at Sheffield Town Hall at a date to be fixed.

Mr Khayum said: "The height of each unit is less than four metres and the units are hardly visible from the main road. They do not overlook or overshadow neighbouring properties.

"Their presence does not have any effect on local amenities or any environmental impact.

"Additional classrooms are required because of an increased demand on the Madrassah as there are very few alternative facilities in the area for after-school activities.

"If these units are not available, the children will have no other activities to occupy them after school."

He added disabled access was not necessary to the temporary buildings because there were alternative facilities for disabled children in the main mosque building.

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