Green light for plans to convert old flats

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Councillors have approved plans to change an empty home into a mosque and madrassah in Staincliffe.

An application to change the use of Springfield House, which comprises of 49 Halifax Road and 1 The Mews, was granted conditional approval at last Thursday’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee meeting.

The conditions include a ban on broadcasting the call to prayer, or Azan, from internal or external loudspeakers that can be heard beyond the mosque’s grounds.

A Kirklees Council planning officer told the meeting that the house had previously been flats but these had been vacant for some time and had fallen into a state of disrepair.

He said the plans represented a viable reuse and there would not be any significant detriment to the surrounding area.

Stuart Hartley, on behalf of the mosque committee, said they had been practising in Dewsbury for around 48 years and based at a mosque in Northgate for the last 34 years.

He said: “The building has fallen into a severe state of disrepair. The house will not improve by leaving it - it will just disappear.”

He said the new use would lead to the building’s repair and contribute to wider efforts to improve the appearance of keys routes into the town centre.

The mosque had noted concerns about the call to prayer and was happy to comply with conditions.

A petition with 26 signatures and eight letters of objection were sent to the committee, raising concerns about traffic, highway safety, parking and the cultural impact of a new mosque on the area.

Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dews East) said: “I’m fully supportive of this application. I’ve known this building as being derelict for some time. My only concern is I would like whatever materials they are using to be in keeping with the area.”