Local residents opposed to the building of an Islamic Community Centre in Timperley are to stage a demonstration on Saturday.
An application to build the 2,000 sq m, two-storey building on Green Belt off Thorley Lane will be submitted to Trafford Council imminently.
The Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association (AHMA) claims it has outgrown its current base on Grove Lane in Hale and that there are “no other available and suitable” sites apart from the one opposite Wyevale World of Pets and Leisure and World of Water Aquatic Centre.
Now residents are looking to hold a “peaceful” demonstration on Thorley Lane protesting at the planned development, starting at 11am on Saturday.
And protest organiser Angela Holbrooks, who also set up a petition that has now attracted over 1,800 signatures, said the centre was “not needed”.
“There are plenty of community centres in Timperley that are open to all,” she said. “They are saying it will be open to all, but can you honestly tell me how many local residents would use that facility, apart from Muslims themselves?
“The main issue is that it would be built on Green Belt land, but a community centre like this should not come under the special circumstances that would allow it to be built.”
Holbrooks also claimed any development would lead to “absolutely ridiculous” traffic in the area as the centre would be open “seven days a week, 365 days a year”.
She added: “I’m 61 now, was born in Dunham Massey and live in Altrincham. My children have been to school here. There’s no racism involved here, it’s solely local people concerned about the area they live in and how the demographic of the area will change.”
The protest has however already the attention of far right groups, with the Twitter feed of the English Defence League’s North West division calling on members to support it:
There are plans for for a mosque to be built on greenland in Timperley. The locals are fighting against it & have… https://t.co/pNyvSYj09Q
— EDLNorthwest (@EDLNorthWest_) October 4, 2016
But Holbrooks said any far right groups would not be welcome on Saturday.
“They are not welcome and they will be told to leave,” she said. “We’re not affiliated to any far right group and we don’t want them there.
“This is not about politics, it’s about the area where people live and have done for many years.”
The AHMA says the self-funded project will “remediate the site, provide significant landscaping and improve the openness of the land”.
“The land is unsightly and has been used for general waste, including the storage of old cars. As a consequence, the land has become contaminated,” it adds.