Property

Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association still “committed” to building Islamic Cultural Centre

By David Prior at

The Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association (AHMA) says it is still “committed” to building a new centre – but has put plans on hold while the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework is under consultation.

We revealed last week that the association had withdrawn its controversial application to build a 2,000 sq m, two-storey building on Green Belt land off Thorley Lane in Timperley.

But it now says it plans to press ahead with a “desperately needed” new centre, but only once the situation regarding the framework has been “clarified”.

The framework proposes to radically redraw Greater Manchester’s Green Belt in order to facilitate a 20-year programme of housebuilding, to include 23,000 new homes in Trafford.

Thorley Lane, the site of the planned new centre which is currently on hold

Thorley Lane, the site of the planned new centre which is currently on hold

The affected areas would include the Timperley Wedge, with the framework allocating a large area of land south Ridgeway Road in Timperley and stretching round to Davenport Green as suitable for 3,300 homes and 50,000 sq m of office space. Formal consultation on the first draft of this plan ended earlier this month.

The Wedge area included the proposed site for the new Islamic centre, which the AHMA says explains its decision to put the plans on hold.

A spokesperson for AHMA told Altrincham Today: “The Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association (AHMA) has an urgent need for a new bespoke community centre to replace our current base at Grove Lane. With up to 500 worshippers at peak times, the existing centre is no longer fit for purpose.

“Therefore, in September 2016, we announced plans for a much-needed new Community Centre on land off Thorley Lane and a planning application was prepared. Since then, the draft Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) has been published for consultation. The GMSF makes recommendations for future community, housing and commercial growth and proposes the allocation of development sites across the whole Greater Manchester area, including Trafford.

Locals had staged a protest close to the proposed site in October

Locals had staged a protest close to the proposed site in October

“As residents will be aware, it is proposed to amend the Green Belt and a number of sites around Thorley Lane are allocated in the draft GMSF for residential, commercial and community development, including the site of the proposed new AHMA Community Centre.

“With this in mind, the AHMA has decided to place on hold the planning application for a
Community Centre on land off Thorley Lane at this time, until the situation relating to the GMSF has been clarified.

“However, the AHMA is committed to delivering the new facilities, which are so desperately needed for the growing local Muslim community. We will monitor the situation with the GMSF closely. We would like to thank the community and stakeholders who see the shared vision of this project and will endeavour to keep the local community updated as and when we are ready to progress with our plan.”

The original application had generated much opposition from local residents, with over 2,200 signing a petition and several hundred attending a protest outside the proposed site in October.