Mini-buses to handle traffic as four-storey Mosque gets go-ahead in Whitechapel
PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 December 2013
Mini buses will be introduced to cope with a predicted increase in traffic caused by the extension of a mosque in Whitechapel.
Tower Hamlets council has said the mosque will pay for the mini buses to help transport worshippers wanting to attend the new mosque.
Plans to build a new four-storey Esha’atul Islam Mosque building on Damien Street and an extra storey for the existing building in Cavell Street were approved by the council’s planning committee on November 26.
The mini buses will be introduced as part of a Travel Plan to address residents’ fears that added traffic so near the A&E at Royal London Hospital could disrupt the flow of ambulances and potentially cost lives.
A council spokesman said: “The Travel Plan will contain measures such as encouraging walking, reducing the need for private cars by funding a mini-bus service and introducing a car share scheme.”
He said council officers and the highways team were satisfied the Travel Plan would “help to mitigate the impact on traffic conditions” and reduce traffic in the area by 20 per cent.
The mosque applied for the extension to provide extra classrooms, a new women’s prayer hall and more men’s prayer space.
James Perkins, 36, a resident in Cavell Street who raised concerns about the extension, said: “We don’t feel that any of our concerns we have raised have been addressed.”
He added: “The mosque has existed in harmony with the local community for years.
“It wouldn’t matter if it was a library or any building. We’re concerned about the extra traffic it will bring and loss of sunlight to nearby homes.”
The mosque’s vice president, Abdul Jalil, has said the concerns are unfounded and were dealt with during the application process.