Planning Permission Granted For Replacement Normacot Mosque

Normacot’s Muslim Community was granted full planning permission today to build a replacement mosque on the opposite side of Chaplin Road to where the original building lies.

Approval for planning was voted through without any votes against or abstentions at a meeting of Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s Development Management Committee.

There were no members of public present to raise any objections to the plans. The city council had only received three letters of protest during the application protest.

As a condition, building work must commence on the new mosque within three years of the date that the planning permission was granted.

Councillor Ann James raised concerns over the increased traffic in the area and the fact that there were already parking issues when the current mosque was busy.

The planning officer was able to allay her fears by informing the meeting that the mosques trust had purchased additional land alongside the existing mosque and that both sites would be used for parking.

The height of the building including the minaret will be no more than 1.5 metres higher that the adjacent block of apartments.

The mosque trust will also have to adhere to a number of conditions.

A) The provision of a traffic management scheme and if required, a controlled parking zone.
B) Covered cycle parking facilities provided within the site.
C) A detailed Travel plan that sets out how the mosque users and the trust intend to reduce the reliance on private motor cars.
D) A landscaping plan that details the treatment of all ground surfaces, tree and shrub planting, finished level of contours.
E) Announcements and calls to prayer using external amplification shall not take place except on Fridays, Eid Days and during the holy month of Ramadan. On these days they shall not take place before 07.30 or after 20.00 hours. The announcements or calls shall last no longer than two minutes and shall not exceed a volume of 60dBL at source.

The call to prayer issue has already been addressed.

The Mosque trust have already stated that it would be announced through an internal PA system 5 minutes before the actual prayer meeting takes place. The previous permission was subject to a condition which limited the volume and times that prayer calls could take place and it is suggested that a similar condition be used, now that planning had been granted.

Members of the mosque trust were present in the chamber to hear the news of their successful application.

New Mosque for Stoke-on-Trent South ““ What’s the Issue?

Yesterday’s Sentinel contained a story about the proposed new Mosque at the top of Chaplin Road in Normacot and surprise surprise it has attracted well over a 100 comments.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the story at all, but the comments left on the website shows that this kind of issue always brings out the extremes in our society.

The mosque in question will be built to replace the existing mosque on the opposite side of the road, yet you would think that this building was just being planted on the Normacot landscape with no prior history.

This mosque, the land on which it will sit, plus additional land/buildings which will be turned into car parking, has been brought and paid for by members of the Normacot community. There is no council/government windfall that is funding this project, just the hard work and endeavours of the Asian community who want a place of worship that is fir for purpose.

The new building will replace an old derelict pottery that was, until it was demolished, an eyesore and blot on the landscape.

This new mosque will be an attractive property that will be landscaped, have arched windows and a domed roof with a minaret. In my opinion it will be a vast improvement on what was there previously.

Reading the comments left on the Sentinel website made me question the mentality of some people.

Here are just a few examples:

” I hope the councillors reject this preposterous idea of building a second mosque in the City!”
”Welcome to Great Britain….NOT”
”well it as not taken long for this to happen as it? when will you lot learn that the labour party is run buy asains so this will get the rubber stamp. should have voted BNP ?? how stupid you are! just wake up
”what a joke, another mosque at a cost of £1.5 million, where do they get the money from? this labour party is a load of bull who will grant permission for mosques but nothing else. we need more work places built or houses for BRITISH people, its not us being racist, its LABOUR”
”William Blake’s imortal song ” Jerusalem ” will have to be written to accommodate these mosques soon i fear :
‘Till we have built ISLAMABAD In England’s green and pleasant land’
”The people of Stoke only have themselves to blame for this. You got what you voted for and boy did you. Everyone of you had the chance to vote BNP in may and you didnt. If you had then you would of had BNP councellors on the council to reject it and most likely of had the plans scrapped. I have no simpathy for you cos you had the chance to have your say in may and you were silent. NO POINT SHOUTING NOW”

And this in a City that has just voted every last politician of a far right persuasion out of the council chamber.

The fact is that the Normacot community want a bigger building than the one that is there at the moment so they want to replace it ““ why is that such an issue.

Just three letters of objection were sent to the council raising the following concerns:

1. The existing mosque already creates nuisance which would be exacerbated by the proposed development.
2. The scheme would create traffic danger.
3. The building would be an eyesore.
4. There is no need for another mosque as there are others around the city

A letter of support was sent by the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent South Rob Flello stating that he supports the development of all faith and religious organisations in the area and considers that allowing them to develop new places of worship helps these groups thrive. He considers that the proposal will be a welcome addition to the wider community.

One concern I do have relates to parking. Friday’s can be a bit of a nightmare for motorists in the area and often cars are double parked or parked illegally around the site of the existing mosque.

The main highway issue is parking. The mosque is intended to serve the local community and as there are mosques in other parts of the city, a large proportion of worshipers are expected to bewithin walking distance. There is also a bus service passing the site.

Notwithstanding this, parking remains an issue and it is evident that there is significant demand for on-street parking at the busiest times at the existing mosque. A total of 39 parking spaces is proposed in the current application, the majority of which would be on the northern part of the site. The outline scheme would have provided 53 spaces in an underground car park. Although on a parking space / floorspace ratio, the current provision would be more or less the same as before (because of the smaller size of building now proposed), the overall number of visitors is likely to be the same. If there are not enough spaces to satisfy the demand, congestion could occur as visitors try to enter the car park when full. It is therefore suggested that the applicants use a permit system so that those in most need of a parking space could be allocated one. This could be arranged through a travel plan which is included at condition 4..

In addition to the off-site arrangements it was considered appropriate in relation to the outline application for funding to be provided for the introduction of parking controls in the area should they prove to be necessary. This would be returned after three years if parking problems had not occurred. This was controlled through a S106 agreement. The same arrangement is considered appropriate in this instance. The outline permission was also conditional to traffic calming measures being provided within the vicinity of the mosque and again these should be provided.

The submitted travel plan is generally good including targets and measures to reduce single occupancy car trips to the site. The final details of this will need to be agreed by condition but subject to this, and the provisions referred to above, the development is considered to be acceptable in highway terms and is in accordance with policiesT1A and T18A.

The other issue is the myth about the call to prayer and how it will be heard all over the south of the city. Again the council planning office has built in restrictions to protect residents of any noise pollution.

The applicants have indicated that they would like to operate a call to prayer which would be announced through an internal PA system 5 minutes before the actual prayer meeting takes place. The previous permission was subject to a condition which limited the volume and times that prayer calls could take place and it is suggested that a similar condition be used, should the current application be approved.

Planning officers conclude their report with the recommendation that the proposal be approved.

That will not deter the dissenters of course and those who wish to turn the issue of worship into a political debate.

Rumours are circulating around the south of the city that the BNP have seized this issue and are set for a robust leaflet campaign. Internet forums are hinting that the English Defence League may use this issue to make a return visit to our city.

Finally, if like this contributor:

This protracted debate indicates what is increasingly wrong with this site. The irksome debate of how many dancing pinheads are involved in far right local politics is an unhealthy obsession with the author of the article. Surely it would be to the benefit of everyone that we concentrate on finding solutions to those seemingly intractable problems that drive the disillusionment with main stream politics such as unemployment, poverty, low wages and poor levels of attainment?

you are left wondering why I am sensitive about issues like this and the danger of the far right in the City of Stoke-on-Trent, just read this taken from today’s Stoke England First Website and then ask yourselves where the real danger comes from?

No sooner is the pisspoor excuse for an election over, than that bastard Pervez is at it again.

The plans for a terrorist training camp in Normacot; oops, sorry, that should read plans for a new mosque in Normacot; are back on the table, and that tubby immigrant is driving forward his plans to colonise Stoke-on-Trent with his muzzie brethren by building mosques in every part of the city, making sure that that the vast majority of taxi services are muslim based- an unfair monopoly- that public swimming pools are closed so his mate Mo can rip off even more people with his sky high charges, and now with the re-appearance of that far left bum bandit Meredith, they will flood the city with even more immigrants, like the overspill from Birmingham currently turning the north of the city into a black enclave!

Take a look at the voluntary bodies handed £millions every year by the city council. Look at VAST, and who runs it, look at the Dudson centre and who runs it, listen to their bullshit about what an important service they perform for the city, then do like me and several colleagues did, and take a good close look at their finances.

Perfoming an important service for the city?

Bollocks, the majority of the money that goes through the doors of places like this is taken up in salaries and pension payments!

“ËœUnemployment, poverty, low wages and poor levels of attainment’ make for attitude like this do they? Somehow I think that it is a whole lot more to do with hatred.

I pose the following to the reader:

Does the danger to our city and the people who live here come from the building of a new mosque for the Muslim population of the south of the city?

Or from far right extremists who display a lack of tolerance, respect and attitudes like this?

Government Cuts Hit Ethnic Communities In Stoke-on-Trent

Government cuts in funding have forced Stoke-on-Trent College to review it’s arrangements for delivering community learning.

The cuts have forced Stoke-on-Trent College to end it’s contract with Community Partnership Learning [CPL] which has delivered adult courses in community centres across the six towns for the past six years.

Although some courses will still run in Normacot the effects of the decision will be felt among ethnic communities across Stoke-on-Trent.

Female students in these communities are now fearful that they will have to cease their educational classes due to the need to travel to Stoke-on-Trent College campuses at Cauldon and Burslem.

Ethnic minority women are now fearful that their husbands will not allow them to attend mixed-sex classes.

Speaking in today’s Sentinel Taj Bibby of Community Partnership Learning said:

“The college is not going to be contracting with us. All the courses will be centralised in a mainstream setting at its campuses.

“It is very sad. We were based around the community, in places like Cobridge, Shelton, Hanley and Longton. Places where people could easily get to.

“Many of the women have large families. They could come to classes in the community because it was within walking distance of their home and the schools their children attend.

“Now, a lot of the students will not continue with their education.

“For some of the women, it was the first time they had got involved in education. They were learning English, or various skills.

“Now we don’t know what the future holds.”

The cessation of the contract between Stoke-on-Trent College and CPL could effect up to 400 students.

The college have not revealed the savings that this decision will realise.

School Closed Because Of Fire.

A local school remained closed today (Monday) after a fire there on Saturday morning.

Alexandra Infants School, Spring Road, Normacot had damage done to a classroom and smoke and water damage to other parts of the School. It is suspected that the fire may be arson. It was started around 7.45 on Saturday morning when rubbish placed outside the main school doors was set ablaze.

The school will be closed until at least Wednesday 31st March as staff clean up. Efforts to do this started on Saturday with Staff and governors working in there own time.

It seems that children’s art work has been destroyed, witch would be most upsetting.

It is hoped that the school, with 216 three to seven year old pupils will reopen on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Staffordshire Police confirmed that they were investigating the incident and it involve rubbish being set alight near the building.

It was not reported to the public if the rubbish had been left there by staff or put there to set fire to by the persons involved in the act.

Any with information are asked to ring DC Claire Busfield of Hanley CID on 03001234455 or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555111.

Police Surgeries

A number of police surgeries are scheduled to be held across Stoke-on-Trent over the weekend.

Officers from Neighbourhood Policing Units (NPUs) across the division will be on hand to meet visitors, and also offer crime reduction advice.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings to discuss any issues or concerns with their local officers.

Officers from Longton NPU will be at the town’s market between 9.30am and 12noon today.

Residents in Northwood are invited to meet their local officers at a street meeting in Jervis Street between 2pm and 3pm this afternoon.

Officers from Tunstall NPU are holding a surgery at St Michael’s Church, St Michael’s Road, Chell, this afternoon between 2pm and 4pm.

Tomorrow officers from Longton NPU will be working from Tesco, Baths Road, between 2pm and 4pm.

On Monday 22 March residents from the Meir South area are invited to come and have their say at a community meeting. Officers will be at Normacot Grange Neighbourhood Centre, Bordeaux Road, between 5.30pm and 7pm.

On Tuesday 23 March officers from Longton NPU will be working from Meir Community House, The Square, from 1.30pm.

Residents in Birches Head are encouraged to meet their local officers at the police post based at the Bridge Centre, Birches Head Road, on Tuesday. They will be available between 2pm and 4pm.

Operation Nemesis – 12 More Arrested

Police in Stoke-on-Trent have sent a clear message to those involved in the supply of drugs this Christmas as part of the latest phase of Operation Nemesis.

Before dawn this morning, eight teams of police officers from the Stoke-on-Trent division began a day of executing drugs warrants.

The search warrants, all granted under the Misuse of Drugs Act, were aimed at recovering evidence against suspected drug dealers in the city.

So far today officers have executed warrants at 14 addresses across the city including properties in Normacot, Blurton, Cobridge, Sneyd Green and Longton.

Officers have arrested 12 people – eight men and four women – in relation to drugs offences and have seized a quantity of what is believed to be Class A drugs (cocaine) and cash at various addresses.

Supt. Dave Mellor said “Operation Nemesis really is daily business for us in Stoke-on-Trent. We are keeping the pressure on the dealers and have done since the launch of the operation in 2007. These warrants are the result of some detailed investigative work by a number of departments determined to tackle the supply of drugs, but importantly many of the search warrants executed today have resulted from calls by members of the public to Crimestoppers.”

On average, since the launch of Operation Nemesis, one or more drugs warrants have been executed every day in the city.

Each time a property is searched officers from the local neighbourhood policing team are involved and they work to deliver leaflets to homes in the area to ensure residents know what action the police are taking to tackle the supply of drugs.

Supt. Mellor added “Keeping the community informed about the action we are taking is a vital part of the operation. As a result of this element of the operation we have seen and sustained a real increase in the number of calls to Crimestoppers, which allows this vital work to continue.”

The leaflets issued to communities also direct drug users and their families to drug services, as the warrant could be the trigger for a user to make a significant change to their lives and seek treatment and support for their addiction.

Supt. Dave Mellor concluded “We are constantly working to protect our communities from the harm caused by drugs.Today’s warrants will help keep the pressure on the dealers and I urge anyone with information about drugs to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or speak to their local neighbourhood officer. A call now could result in a drug dealer in our community spending Christmas behind bars – all we need is the information. Santa isn’t the only person with a magic key this Christmas.”

Meet your local police officers

By Pits n Pots Reporter

A number of police surgeries and Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meetings will be held across Stoke-on-Trent over the weekend.

Officers from Neighbourhood Policing Units (NPUs) across the division will be on hand to meet visitors, and also offer crime reduction advice.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meetings to discuss any issues they have with their local officers.

On Saturday 24 October officers from Longton NPU will be at the town’s market between 9.30am and 12noon.

Residents in Birches Head are invited to a number of street meetings taking place on Saturday.

Officers will be at the King George V playing fields, Kelvin Avenue, between 1pm and 2pm and the fields on Derek Drive between 2.15pm and 3pm. They will then move on to a street meeting in Monsal Grove, which will take place between 3.15pm and 4pm, and then on to the final meeting at the shops on Diana Road between 4.15pm and 5pm.

On Sunday 25 October local officers from Longton NPU will be working from Tesco, Baths Road, between 2pm and 4pm.

On Monday 26 October officers from the City Centre NPU will be working from Tesco, New Hall Street, Hanley, between 10am and 11am.

Officers from Tunstall NPU are hosting a Partners and Communities Together (PACT) meeting on Monday. They will be working from the mobile police station on Hamil Road, by the Burslem Park gates, between 4pm and 6pm.

Officers from Longton NPU are also holding a PACT meeting on Monday. They will be at Normacot Grange Neighbourhood Centre, Bordeaux Road, Meir, between 5.30pm and 7pm.

Officers covering the Fenpark and Fenton East areas of the city are also hosting a PACT meeting on Monday evening at Clarice Cliffe Primary School, Goldenhill Road, between 7pm and 8.30pm.