A local MP has written to Oadby and Wigston Borough Council about unpopular plans to convert a former Wigston pub into a mosque, due to traffic concerns.
Neil O’Brien has weighed into the proposals, which concern the former Nautical William pub, which sits on Aylestone Lane, Wigston.
Plans to convert it into a mosque have been met with opposition from residents, with a survey conducted by Mr O’Brien, revealing that 88 per cent of residents did not want the council to approve the current proposal.
In a letter to Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, he reveals that the most popular alternative use people preferred was for housing – which is what the council had originally earmarked the site for. It is suitable for more than 20 houses they say.
“The majority of residents surveyed would like to see the current site be converted into housing. I also understand that the council has allocated the site in its Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment as a location for 23 dwellings, thus contributing to the council’s five-year housing land supply,” he said.
“I do hope the council will take the residents’ views on the matter when the application is considered by Planning Committee.”
The South Leicestershire Islamic Community submitted a planning application to convert the closed pub in December last year.
Documents state that the building will become a meeting place “for the principal use of the local community” as well as a “place of public worship or religious instruction.”
Members of the community have raised concern about the increase in traffic and associated parking that the proposed Mosque would mean for the area.
“I think it would be most unfair to the people living in the vicinity of the Nautical William to have to put up with all that a mosque brings to it. Cars parked in any spaces available, people talking at night, noise etc,” said one Wigston resident online.
“While I have no problem with anyone using a mosque, surely they need to be built on a site where there are no surrounding houses?”
“The area is horrific for traffic as it is. Unless you work or live in the area, then you’ll not realise the carnage this will causes,” added another.
“I have no issue with anyone having a place to worship, but this area isn’t the one sadly.”
A public consultation was launched into the plan that concluded on January 18.
More than 300 people commented on the application via the council’s online planning portal, with almost 200 of them in favour of the plans going ahead.
However, a large proportion of these are from people living outside the area, a point Mr O’Brien makes in his letter.
“Approximately 59 per cent of supporting comments on the application come from people who lived outside of the borough. This included faraway places such as Greater Manchester, London and Nelson in Lancashire. Many residents shared this concern with me,” he said.
Responding to Mr O’Brien’s letter, councillor John Boyce, leader of Oadby and Wigston Borough Council, wished to thank residents who had taken part in the survey and consultation.
“By law, we keep an open mind on applications until they come to our committee,” he added.
“Should the application come to committee, all the information and comments that have been raised will be taken into account.”
A decision date on the application is yet to be announced.