The plan to turn a former chemical site about a mile from London’s Olympic Park into a mosque more than three times the size of St. Paul’s Cathedral was rejected by the local government.
The Newham Borough Council denied permission for the 6.2- hectare (15-acre) development called the Riverine Centre in the city’s West Ham neighborhood at a meeting of council members yesterday. The borough’s planners had recommended that the proposal by Anjuman-E-Islahul-Muslimeen of (London) U.K. Trust be rejected.
Approval was sought for a mosque that would hold more than 9,000 visitors, a library and a 2,000-person capacity dining hall. The council earmarked the land for housing and businesses.
Chemicals had been made on the former Rio Tinto Zinc site for about 100 years through the 1980s, contaminating the land, according to documents circulated to councilors before the vote. The site was bought by the trustees in 1996. The contamination can’t be fully mitigated for the purpose of the proposed development, according to the documents.
About a quarter of Newham’s residents are Muslim compared with about 8.5 percent in all of London, according to a document submitted by the center’s trustees. More than 25,000 people told the council that they supported the project and about 3,000 objected.
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