The Islamic missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat had sought permission to build a permanent mosque on a 17-acre site near the Olympic Park in Stratford. Its plans to provide a place of worship for around 9,000 people were opposed by Newham council in 2012.
Tablighi Jamaat appealed to what is now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which rejected the proposal in October 2015. At the time, the movement was also ordered to cease using existing buildings on the site as a mosque.
The ministry said its decision was based on “concerns that include local housing provision and conflict with the council’s local plan for the borough”.
There was also considerable opposition from residents. In 2007, more than 250,000 people signed an online petition opposing the plans for the mosque. Organizers claimed to represent “the Christian population of this great country England” and said the mosque would “cause terrible violence and suffering”.
Since the 2015 decision, the organization has operated a temporary mosque with a capacity of 2,500 on the site. It went to the high court seeking to overturn a demolition order.
However, the court ruled in the council’s favor and ordered the mosque’s owners to pay more than £22,000 in costs to the council. The organization has until 16 February to take the case to the court of appeal.
Tablighi Jamaat bought the site, a chemical works decommissioned 30 years ago, in 1995 for £1.6m.
The organization said it had no one available to comment on the high court decision.
A spokesperson for Newham council said it now wished to see the site developed for residential and employment uses. “The council now expects the owners of the site to fully comply with the court’s judgement and would welcome positive dialogue to bring forward a comprehensive development proposal that the council can support,” the spokesperson said.
Source: The Guardian