Proposals for prayer centre are deferred

Healey Mills Complex, Batley
Healey Mills Complex, Batley

Planning chiefs have postponed an application to change business units into an Islamic religious education centre with prayer facilities.

Healey Islamic Trust has agreed to buy the Healey Mills Complex in Healey for £450,000 and submitted an application to Kirklees Council to turn two of the vacant units into prayer facilities and classrooms.

The council’s Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee decided to defer the proposals after concerns were raised about parking problems in the area at a meeting last Friday.

A petition backed by 168 people was received in support of the Healey Lane site plans and another petition, with 78 signatures objecting to the plans, was also submitted to the council.

Coun Cathy Scott, who sits on the planning committee, said at the meeting she had “deep concerns” about potential parking problems and traffic congestion on Healey Lane and moved to defer the plans.

The trust had also applied to convert a hand car wash to the east of the complex into a car park for the centre.

Coun Scott said: “I have deep concerns about the highways issues here - there will be a great influx of traffic on Healey Lane, it’s just coming off the bend.

Coun Scott said centre users might not use the car park and instead drop people off on the road, causing congestion. She said: “I’m not against what the site will be used for, it’s the highways issues and I would rather have a clear conscience today and vote that we defer this application.”

However, trust chairman Ilyas Lunat told the meeting that he expected users of prayer facilities to live locally and within walking distance of the centre. A report to the meeting recommended the application to be approved.