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Council loses mosque battle
From The Birmingham Mail
A CONTROVERSIAL £18 million mosque is set to be built in the centre of a Black Country town after the High Court threw out a council challenge.
Dudley Muslim Association has won outline permission for the building in Hall Street, Dudley, following a five-year battle.
The scheme has attracted widespread criticism, with 20,000 locals signing a petition opposing the proposal.
Dudley Council took its battle against the mosque to the High Court, costing taxpayers around £16,000, because it said the land had been designated for employment use and that the scheme did not fit this profile.
It could also still throw a spanner in the works because it is unhappy a land swap agreement made with the Association in 2001 has not been honoured.
The deal stipulated the mosque had to be “substantially built” by the end of last year or the council could buy back the land at an agreed price.
Dudley Council leader, Coun Anne Millward, is to hold talks with council chief executive John Polychronakis to see if the scheme can still be stopped on those grounds.
Mushtaq Hussain, secretary of Dudley Muslim Association (said that) The Association would now draw up more detailed plans and apply for full planning permission.
Deputy council leader Coun Les Jones (Con, Pedmore and Stourbridge East) said the authority had no choice but to abide with the scheme “in terms of the planning decision”.
Coun Jones said he was unsure whether the Association could come up with the necessary funds to build the mosque.
As no one but the Mosque Association wants the thing built there should still be ways to scupper the project.