Chipping Norton shop will become new mosque

Witney Gazette: Tahirul Hasan Tahirul Hasan

THE man behind a planned mosque in Chipping Norton said he is “on top of the world” after the scheme was approved.

West Oxfordshire District Council’s uplands area planning sub-committee approved the planning application yesterday.

The scheme will see a former shop in Hitchmans Mews, off West Street, changed into a mosque.

Applicant Tahirul Hasan, 46, said: “I am on top of the world. I am very busy telling everyone.

“The community is very happy and very pleased for this.”

Mr Hasan, who is a taxi driver and town councillor, said the Muslim community would meet on Friday to discuss when to move into their new home.

Asked about opposition to the application, he added: “Now is the time to forget everything. This is what Islam says.”

Chipping Norton Town Council, along with 28 residents, objected and raised concerns about noise, parking, and the loss of retail space.

Residents’ comments were edited by district council planning officers. Agenda documents said: “Some representations have not been included within this report due to their prejudiced nature.”

Chipping Norton’s Muslim community, which the 2011 Census said was 34-strong out of a population of 6,337, currently meets in the Town Hall on Fridays.

The new mosque will open for 10-minute prayer sessions between sunrise and one hour after sunset five times a day, Mr Hasan said. He said he did not plan to hold religious teaching sessions.

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