Long running plans to build a mosque at the site of a derelict methodist church have finally been put forward in a planning application.
The scheme has been in the pipeline for four years, and now looks closer than ever after the application was made public this week.
Hemel Hempstead Islamic Centre has submitted the plan for the three-storey venue to replace the Nash Mills Methodist Church building, which has been vacant for a decade.
The new building is intended to replace the prayer facilities currently at St Albans Hill, and could accommodate a maximum of 520 people, though it’s only expected to be at capacity ‘three or four times a year’.
The current building could be reused as a mosque without the need for planning consent, but the applicants wish to have a ‘purpose built building’.
Four years ago more than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for similar plans to be rejected, with local BNP members protesting.
But for local residents, the real issue would be parking.
Sandra Driver, who lives nearby, said: “It looks like there’s only 35 parking spaces for somewhere that could hold hundreds. The roads nearby are atrocious already.”