Controversy As Multi-Faith Centre Set to Fail Planning

September 30, 2008

Author: Will Henley

Source: Building Design

Plans for a dramatic £20 million community centre in the north London suburbs by former YAYA-nominee Mangera Yvars Architects faced planning permission refusal this week.

The proposal, to be considered at Thursday’s meeting of Harrow Council’s planning committee, is a multi-faith centre inspired by Islamic architecture and commissioned by the Battlers Well Foundation, a local Muslim charity.

But despite backing from local MP Gareth Thomas, the project — which includes a sports hall, gym, prayer hall, play centre, cafe and 24-bed nursing home — has been recommended for rejection due to its “overbearing” form.

Planning officers have received 227 letters complaining about the design, and 207 in favour. The architect insists it is popular locally and this week presented a petition of 1,500 signatories to councillors.

“On its own merits the design of the proposed building represents high-quality contemporary architecture incorporating sustainable concepts and Islamic influences in its overall approach,” the planning report stated. “The result is a futuristic, sleek-looking modern building. Unfortunately this [fails to relate] to the character and appearance of the existing street scene and surrounding area.”