10:05AM, Friday 14 December 2018
A planning inspector has dismissed an appeal against the Royal Borough’s decision to refuse permission for the redevelopment of the Medina Dairy site.
The food supplier had an application to replace its depot in Shirley Avenue with 89 homes turned down by the council in June last year.
It appealed but the Government’s planning inspector ruled in favour of the council’s original decision on Thursday, December 6.
It said the proposed development would lead to the loss of a prayer room which is used by about 200 people for weekly Friday prayers.
Planning inspector G D Grindey said: “It is abundantly clear that, particularly for Friday prayers, the loss of this facility would significantly affect the local community.
“The likely result is that those wishing to pray would have to travel further and its loss would lead to a reduction of the community’s ability to meet its needs locally.”
Planning permission was granted for an Islamic education and community facility at the depot in 2006 but the project did not progress.
The upper floor of the site’s Technor House is now used for prayers by the company’s employees but members of the community also attend.
The inspector added that there was ‘no evidence’ that a replacement facility could be found in the area to house a new Islamic prayer hall and education facilities.
Councillors rejected the original application due to the loss of commercial buildings and the proximity to protected trees.
The inspector said the proposed development would not ‘significantly effect the industrial land supply’ but added the felling of trees would have a detrimental effect on the character of the area.
Medina Dairy was asked for a comment but had not responded as the Express went to press.
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