PLANS for a Sri Lankan Community Centre in Fishemead have been given the go-ahead despite angry protests by residents.
Members of the Fishermead Residents’ Association, carrying banners and shouting slogans, met members of the council’s development control committee at a site visit at Fishermead Boulevard on Monday.
The proposed Sri Lankan centre will see a new two-storey building with three classrooms, a meeting room, a gym, library, two separate commercial units and two large community halls – one to be used primarily as a place of worship which the residents’ association fears would become a mosque.
Harry Sharpe, vice-chairman, said he was not against the idea of mosques, but that he felt it was in the wrong place.
“We tried to meet with the people who put in the proposal,” he said. “But they flatly refused to talk to us.
“We had several other locations in mind for them to use, but they didn’t want to know. We aren’t against them, we want to work with them.”
Gary Noakes, treasurer of the FRA added: “We want a place that everyone can use.
“We don’t want a place that only lets in certain people.”
The committee met on Tuesday night and gave the green light for plans for the Sri Lankan Centre to be built.
Councillor Brian White, chairman of the development control committee, said: “The case against the facility being built was not racist in the slightest and raised issues we hear all the time.
“We saw no planning reason why the facility shouldn’t go ahead, but insisted on an amendment to ensure that it can be used by anyone.”