12:30PM, Thursday 22 April 2021
Maidenhead Mosque has hit out at the council over plans to redevelop the old Magnet Leisure Centre into new flats.
The mosque has expressed concern about the impact of the proposed development of more than 400 homes, currently in its planning stages – particularly around its effect on parking in the area.
Currently, visitors to the mosque use the parking outside the Magnet to drop into the mosque, which allows them to get to daily prayers quickly and easily.
The mosque says it discussed the possible development plans for the site with the previous administration under Simon Dudley, which said that car parking provision in Holmanleaze would remain.
However, this changed when the administration changed, according to Islamic Trust Maidenhead, which runs the mosque.
It says it was told it would still have easy access to Hines Meadows Car Park car park – but the plans now include proposals to remove the overhead pedestrian footbridge over Saint-Cloud Way.
“We have been talking to the council for the past four years, then the leadership changed and they say they don’t have any records of that,” said Saghir Ahmed, chair of the Islamic Trust.
“This development was scaled back and scaled down – now it’s been scaled back up again.
“People are coming from work for their daily prayers, they are there for 10 minutes, then go. They need to have quick access to the mosque.”
“If you have to come from Hines Meadows Car Park through the subway, it takes 20 or 30 minutes. The prayers could finish before you get to there,” he said.
Though developer Countryside has consulted with the public on the development, the mosque does not feel that its concerns have been taken seriously.
Saghir said: “The road is designed so that it works for everyone. We have been here for 40 years – they need to understand you can’t just change the landscape. We don’t want to be left high and dry.”
The mosque is also concerned that there will be certain times of year where the roads will be overwhelmed due to the large number of people visiting the mosque.
Another concern is the increase in traffic from new residents and a possible 160 extra vehicles coming in and out of the planned underground car park.
A council spokesman said: “Consultation is still ongoing with local stakeholders and community groups as part of the planning process.”
The leader of the council has previously said that the plans for the Magnet site are 'right for the area'.
A petition has been put forward against the plans for the new flats.
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