Sunderland’s Labour Council has approved plans for a new mosque despite huge public opposition to its construction.
The conversion of a transport depot on St Mark’s Road, Millfield, into a mosque attracted 671 letters of objection and a 1,462-signature petition, as well as large street demonstrations.
But that was all ignored by councillors, who gave the proposals the go-ahead at a meeting in the civic centre, eliciting cries of outrage from more than 20 objectors in the public gallery.
The plans involve the demolition of single-storey offices, the erection of parapet walls and two brick-faced domed columns.
Some neighbours, who also spoke at the meeting, objected because they believed the development would result in an increase in noise and traffic.
But Labour Council leader Paul Watson brushed aside residents’ concerns, saying: ‘We need to decide on the facts that are presented to us, not about what may or may not happen or the fears people have.’
The application, which was submitted by the Pakistan Islamic Centre, attracted hundreds of complaints on the Council’s website.
There is already a 345-capacity mosque (Sunderland Masjid) in Millfield, and another 195-capacity mosque (Masjid ibn Taymeeyah) close by on Chester Road.