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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Labour Bolton Councillors Mosques and houses are of equal importance

Does Cliff know his priorities?

For over a year Bolton Council has been conducting what it refers to a consultation exercise called the Draft Allocations Plan. The Council’s reason for implementing the Allocations Plan is apparently to establish parcels of land which would be suitable for house building and incorporate public feed back into the identification of such land.  

On the 25th of November Anthony Backhouse wrote to the leader of Bolton Council, Cliff Morris regarding an answer Mr Backhouse had received at one of Bolton Boroughs Area Forums. Mr Backhouse had been attempting to establish why, with land for house building at such a premium permission had been granted to build a Mosque on land which could have accommodated 12 or 13 houses on Gilnow Rd in Bolton. It was part of the reply from Councillor Kevin McKeon which prompted Mr Backhouse to write to the leader of the council.

Mr Backhouse asked Councillor McKeon ‘are you of the opinion that providing provision for Mosques is as important as providing housing?’ To which Councillor McKeon replied ‘yes I am’.    

 The implications which might derive from such an outlook could be very serious; as outlined in this section of Mr Backhouse’s letter: ‘I would like to point out that it is my understanding that about 9% of the population of the Bolton Borough are Muslim, and if Councillor McKeon’s opinion that providing Mosques and houses are of equal importance is an opinion shared by yourself and those people responsible for drawing up the Draft Allocations Plan I believe this should have been factored into the consultation exercise. Having studied the Allocations Plan I can see no reference to providing Mosques.’

On the 30th December Mr Backhouse received this two sentence reply from Councillor Morris’s office: ‘The Allocations Plan is only required to show land set aside for housing. As you have noted it does not nor should it include places of worship.’

So the leader of Bolton Council has overtly avoided being candid about whether he agrees with his Labour colleague that building Mosques is as important as building houses. With so many Mosques currently dominating Bolton’s skyline Cliff Morris’s evasive approach to such a serious question must be viewed as being of grave concern, not only to all those people who do not whish to see our country dominated by Islamic theocracy but also to those in Bolton who believe the Draft Allocations Plan might be little more than a PR sham.