Croydon mosque unveils extension plans for London Road site
CROYDON Mosque and Islamic Centre has unveiled expansion plans for a "green" four-storey extension, to be used as a women and children's centre.
The plan for the centre's site in Dunheved Road includes an 18-metre minaret to in front of the mosque in London Road.
The steel structure that already standson the site will be pulled down, due to changes in the building's design.
While the main purpose of the extension is to provide a new prayer area for women, the ground floor will offer a wheelchair accessible wudu washing area for men.
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The new building will also increase the mosque's capacity from about 3,700 to 4,000, reflecting the growth of Croydon's Muslim community since the centre was built in the 1980s.
Members of the mosque have donated around £500,000 to fund the project.
CMIC trustee Shuaib Yusaf said: "Instead of a standard structure, we have gone for something innovative.
"The extension will have an airy feel inside, with an emphasis on green design. We want it to enhance the community."
Glass is a significant feature of the proposed extension, with a glass-topped incline at the rear of the building designed to reflect sunlight onto the Sharland Close housing project below.
Solar panels on this incline could be used to heat water for the mosque's wudu facilities.
According to the architect's drawings, the design aims to be "both recognisably Islamic and comfortable in South London's landscape".
One example is its use of stripes, a common feature of both Islamic architecture and late 19th/early 20th century civic buildings in London, such as Westminster Cathedral.
The design was also influenced by Croydon Town Hall and Clock tower, with Braithwaite Hall providing inspiration for the extension's tall windows.
The unveiling of the plans for London Road follows the controversial rejection of plans to create an Islamic centre in Purley earlier this month – with Tory councillors citing parking issues rather than Islamophobia as their reason.
Mr Yusaf said he had not been directly involved in the Purley mosque plan and could not comment on the vote.
He added: "We know that the average speed on London Road outside the mosque is very slow.
"But we are implementing a travel plan to promote things like car sharing and a greater use of public transport, so that the impact of the extension on parking is minimal.
"For those who do drive, we are encouraging them to park a bit further away and walk to the mosque."
The plan also includes the installation of bike racks outside the mosque.