Second mosque planned for Purley
TWO mosques could now be opened in Purley instead of one.
A disagreement within Muslim group Purley Islamic Community Centre (PICC) means a splinter group is also actively seeking its own place of worship, the Advertiser understands.
An Islamic centre already planned for Russell Hill Place, which could still open after an appeal was lodged with the Planning Inspectorate, would be just one of two places of worship within a few miles of each other.
The Advertiser understands the disagreement arose because what is now the splinter group believes there are too many local Muslim families to fit into the former Venture Photography shop in Russell Hill Place.
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Monir Mohammed, who remains part of the wing dedicated to the Russell Hill plan, said: "Within groups of people there will always be a number of people who disagree with certain points of view. People will always have differences of opinion.
"Sometimes it is venting frustration or it is a gripe because people can't get their own way.
"However, this new site is a great idea because it may be that they can offer additional services to the community and we could share the burden.
"There is more than one church, there is more than one grocery shop in Purley, and there has to be choice in other things, too. But we have all the money for our site in Russell Hill Place and we have not changed our objective."
A source close to PICC, who did not wish to be named, claimed the splinter group has looked at a number of sites on Brighton Road.
Discussions have also been opened with local estate agents.
One building being looked at already has D1 planning status – meaning planning permission would not be required to turn it into a place of worship.
A similar planning tactic is being used by Tesco to turn the former Swan and Sugar-Loaf pub, in South Croydon, into one of its branches. The former pub already has retail planning status, meaning no formal planning permission is required.
In March, PICC lodged an appeal after the Russell Hill Place plan was rejected by Croydon Council at a heated planning meeting, by an all-Conservative six votes to an all-Labour five.
At the time of submitting the plans, PICC said it was aiming to cater for around 120 people.
The Government's Planning Inspectorate is expected to make a final decision on the plans in November.