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Burgess Hill Mosque Extension Approved Following Split Planning Committee Decision

20th September 2018 | By Peter Chapman

Burgess Hill's muslim community were delighted last Thursday evening after their application to extend their mosque by 50% was approved following a tight decision at the Mid Sussex District Council planning committee meeting.

The mosque is located in Lower Church Road and was formerly the British Red Cross building. The Muslims purchased the site a year ago and were looking to put in a 2 storey rear extension. As well as providing more space, it would create a dedicated area for women to pray away from the men and provide their own entrance around the back.

Representations were heard from a neighbour who was against the application along with pleas from two members of the muslim community who wanted to win approval.

Burgess Hill Town Council's planning committee chairman spoke at the meeting and called on MSDC to reject the application, as did ward councillor Anne Jones. A lack of parking, the impact on neighbouring properties and a complete overdevelopment of the site were given as the main reasons.

The MSDC planning committee then debated the application before them with Gary Marsh (Balcombe) questioning how the application had even got as far as the full committee, sighting a large loss of light for neighbouring properties as a reason for refusal.

Other councillors took their turn to weigh in on the plans and it looked like a refusal was going to be the outcome, that is until Cllr Pru Moore (Burgess Hill Town Council Leader), a curious substitue for this meeting, went against her town council's recommendation and that of ward councillor Anne Jones and actually backed the application.

It went to a vote, 4 members were in favour, 4 were against. In the event of a tie, the chairman's vote is counted as double, Cllr Edward Matthews (Copthorne and Worth) voted in favour, so the application was carried.

Cllr Pru Moore, sensationally went against the wishes of her own council's planning committee

The take-away from this story for your reporter is that you can receive hospitality and flowers from an applicant one month prior, have previously worked with the applicant on other issues and projects, not declare ANY of this at the start of the planning meeting, then go on to vote in favour of their application which sees them get over the line. Who knew!?

Spread the word! The Burgess Hill mosque is getting an extension.

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