Parking queries over proposals for Muslim place of worship

Community leaders have welcomed plans for Shetland’s first permanent Islamic place of worship – but also called for it to include more parking spaces.

Lerwick Community Council chairman Jim Anderson said it was “good to see” the former Lochside Stores being brought back into use.

Store owner Ghufar Razaq has submitted plans to transform the building into a place for the Muslim community to join in prayer on Fridays and during Eid. It will also provide a community and resource centre for Muslims and non-Muslims.

LCC members were asked for their views at Monday’s meeting – when the issue of parking spaces was the biggest talking point.

Although the proposals include two parking spaces, members felt it could benefit from more provision.

Mr Anderson said he had heard some concerned comments about parking.

He suggested a strip of ground to the south of the building in South Lochside could be made available for vehicles.

The road authority’s consultation response raised similar queries. 

“While there is a significant amount of public parking provision in the surrounding area it is heavily used at certain times,” the roads official said.

“Therefore, I must also consider at what times the building may generate its demands and how it might integrate with the various existing demands in the area.”

Speaking previously about the application, Mr Razaq said the application was an attempt to provide a “permanent solution to hold congregational prayer”.

“However it’s also an attempt to create a central community and resource centre for Muslims both based in Shetland as well as any visitors to the isles,” he added.

“Non-Muslims would also be welcome to the centre to either participate or obtain information or resources that they may be interested in or curious about.”

A decision on the application is due by 20th August.


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