Green light for Handsworth mosque built without permission
The conversion of a derelict inner-city pub into a mosque, carried out without planning permission, has been given the green light by councillors.
The planning committee was furious that owners of the former Bulls Head pub, in Birchfield Road, Handsworth, had carried out the building work and extensions before securing their approval. But they decided that the mosque was a better option than a boarded-up pub and reluctantly agreed to allow it.
Committee member Coun Margaret Waddington (Con, Sutton Trinity) said: “They know they had to have planning permission before, and yet here we are looking at an application retrospectively. I would not be inclined to support this for that reason, but looking at the site the mosque would be better for local people than a derelict building attracting vandalism and anti-social behaviour.”
The committee ordered the visitor numbers be monitored to ensure they do not exceed the limit of 100. They also sent out a warning to other developers that retrospective permission would not be tolerated.
Director of planning and regeneration, Clive Dutton, said: “There is a mixed quality of architects and agents in the city. So we need to get information out to all sections of the community that they need to speak to us before going ahead. This will hopefully also raise the quality of planning applications we receive.”