Controversial mosque plans for Hemel Hempstead back on the cards

A controversial scheme to build a mosque in Nash Mills is back on the cards, despite already being refused by council bosses.

Villagers raised concerns at the mosque’s 500-capacity, and feared it could make already-bad parking problems in the Barnacres Road area even worse.

The site of the former church where the planned mosque would be

The site of the former church where the planned mosque would be

The planning application for the centre was already rejected by Dacorum Borough Council in December over road safety concerns.

And the potential development was even at the centre of a racist attack when a pig’s head was dumped outside a building owned by the mosque in 2017.

But the land owners claim they have addressed all the concerns in their new application.

Jhangeer Hussain, the general secretary of Hemel Hempstead Mosque, which is behind the plans, said: “The site of the former church has been abandoned for many years – it’s about time it was cleared for the community.”

The mosque has been earmarked for the vacant site of the former Nash Mills Methodist Church on Barnacres Road.

Previous plans have been met with fierce opposition from villagers – not due to the type of building, but what they say will cause traffic chaos due to the scale of the venue.

Mr Hussain added: “It’s not just a mosque application, it’s going to be a community space for all faiths and we hope we are successful.”

The planning statement, supporting the new application, said: “The potential harm to highway safety, if any is found to exist, can be mitigated through planning conditions and are assessed as being less than substantial – at most.

“The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) requires that, in order to refuse an application on highway safety grounds, that the council must demonstrate through clear evidence, that the residual impact would be severe.

“It is contended that any residual harm, should any be found to exist, does not meet the severe threshold.”

Nash Mills Parish Council declined to comment on the re-submission but confirmed the planning application will be discussed at a meeting next month.

A Dacorum Borough Council spokesman said: “We have received a planning application for demolition of existing building and construction of place of religious worship.

“It is currently undergoing statutory consultation and shall also be subject to site and press notifications.

“The application can be viewed and comments submitted by using the following link: http://www.dacorum.gov.uk/nmmc”