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Mosque plan is opposed
1:30pm Thursday 31st January 2013 in News
PLANS to convert an empty shop into a mosque in Chipping Norton have not found favour with town councillors.
Members voted to oppose the application put forward by fellow town councillor Tahirul Hassan at their meeting on January 21.
The plans to convert a former chiropodist’s premises on Hitchmans Mews, off West Street, into a Muslim place of worship, are currently being considered by West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC).
The father-of-three intends to rent the ground floor room for prayers five times a day, seven days a week and wants the mosque to be open from sunrise to sunset.
But 10 town councillors voted against the plans, with three abstentions, over traffic concerns and the loss of another shopping outlet.
Mayor Martin Jarratt said: “They [councillors] didn’t like it because it’s not big enough. The premises aren’t big enough for the number of people possibly going there.”
Coun Mike Tysoe added: “We felt it was going to be very noisy for the neighbours upstairs.
“It would take away another retail site.”
At the moment, people come from Moreton, Stow, Shipston, Woodstock and Witney to pray in Chippy while the nearest mosques are in Banbury, Oxford or Cheltenham.
Mr Hassan, who started Friday prayers in the town hall seven years ago, said he would wait and see what WODC decided before commenting.
The plans are expected to go to the WODC planning committee on Monday.