Medina Properties bought a vacant office building near its existing premises in Windsor. Staff used the offices for prayers on Fridays, but the property did not have the benefit of planning approval. The local community opposed the development vigorously. It was therefore necessary not only to gain planning approval, but to work with the local community.
The client suggested creating a place that might be of use to members of the local Muslim community, not just staff.
Firstly, it was necessary to dissuade the planning authority not to issue enforcement action. Meanwhile we prepared a detailed planning application for an Islamic community centre with prayer area; this would include space for educational use and a community hall.
During the determination period after submission, it became clear that part of the concerns of the local community related to the noise from the client’s business premises, the dairy. So we agreed that a further planning application would propose refurbishing this building.
However, the local planning authority refused the planning application for the community centre, resting its decision on loss of employment and highways matters. The client wished to progress the proposal, so we acted not only as an expert witness but also as project manager. We instructed the barrister and a team of witnesses.
At appeal we achieved planning approval for the Islamic centre, with a series of detailed planning conditions attached that the client carried out before work started on the development. After further negotiation lasting some months, we secured agreement for the dairy’s refurbishment plans.