Green light for plan to create Muslim community centre in Grantham

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Planners have approved an application by the Grantham Muslim Community Association (GMCA) to turn an empty building into a community centre.

As reported in October, the registered charity put in a planning application to South Kesteven District Council to convert the former Henry Thompson & Sons solicitors offices in Elmer Street North, which backs on to ChristChurch in Finkin Street.

It is an alternative to the charity’s unsuccessful plan two years ago to build an Islamic centre in Mowbeck Way, off Alexandra Road, which led to a protest march by the England Defence League.

In the new application, the GMCA said that for a number of years it has been renting venues such as the Guildhall and village halls for social and cultural gatherings, family meetings and activities for children. However, events have been cancelled on several occasions as venues were unavailable.

The centre would host these events plus coffee mornings, social awareness talks, weekly Friday prayers and two-yearly Eid prayers and a Saturday school providing Quran and Islamic education to children – an activity which has taken place at the Guildhall since 1995.

The GMCA said: “We would like to emphasise that our community centre will be open to and welcome everyone irrespective of their religion and background.”

Conditional approval was granted by SKDC with one condition stating that the centre must only operate between 8am and midnight so as not to impact on nearby residents.