BMHC consult public on preliminary expansion plans

The British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC) are consulting on plans to construct new buildings on their site off College Road. The three Whalley Range Labour councillors Aftab Razaq, Angeliki Stogia and Muqaddasah Bano have written to residents in streets near to the Centre with information about the consultation and their first thoughts on the plans they have seen. The text of the letter is as follows:

As you may already know, the BMHC are consulting the public about plans to develop their site between College Road and Clarendon Road. There’s been lots of interest from local residents, quite a few of whom have been in touch with us, and we thought it might help to write you a letter about the situation and explain our own views.

The BMHC and their advisers held an event at the Centre on 29 November, where the plans were displayed, and copies can be seen on their website, bmhc.org.uk. You are invited to forward comments on the plans to their planning consultant Paul Butler Associates (email pba@paulbutlerassociates.co.uk with the word ‘BMHC’ in the subject line) and we would strongly encourage you to do this if you have opinions which you would like to express.

For ourselves, we were surprised by the scale of what is proposed. We know that concerns about this were raised at a previous consultation in July 2019 and as far as we know there has been little engagement with the community since then. Two important questions for which we would like some clearer answers are:
• what will be the effect on the amount of traffic and air pollution on surrounding streets, especially College Road and Clarendon Road but also the roads which feed into them?
• how can the Centre make sure there is no ‘overflow’ parking into neighbouring streets, either from events or from the new housing on the site?

The BMHC is a most valued presence in the Whalley Range community, and we strongly support the aims of the Centre in providing a sustainable future for the historic College building, and promoting British Muslim culture and heritage. Of course we will keep our minds open, but at this point the information provided for the consultation has not convinced us of the environmental benefits of the scheme or the economic need for a development on this scale in order to achieve those worthwhile objectives.

So going forward, we hope to meet soon with representatives of the BMHC to discuss the plans and put forward these concerns, along with other important points raised by residents who have been in touch with us. We will strongly encourage them to pause for reflection and engage openly and constructively with their neighbours and the local community.

In the meantime, if you have issues you would like to raise yourself about the BMHC proposals, we urge you to get in touch with their consultants (see above), or you can contact us and we will pass on your comments.
Yours sincerely,

Aftab, Angeliki and Bano

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