New date is fixed for appeal over Dudley Mosque

A fresh courtroom battle is planned over the controversial multi-million-pound Dudley Mosque as a date has been fixed for an appeal hearing.

New date is fixed for appeal over Dudley Mosque

High Court judges will hear the latest appeal by the Dudley Muslim Association into the long-running battle in June.

The legal battle over the land in Hall Street had already been brought before the courts this year at a hearing last month.

And now council officials have received notification of when the next hearing will take place.

Dudley Council spokesman Jason Whyley confirmed the next hearing will be on June 19 when more legal arguments will be outlined.

Dudley Muslim Association is bidding to halt a buy-back clause in their contract with the council forcing the group to sell the land back if building work had not got under way on the site.

Bosses from the association were given the go-ahead to appeal against the decision in July by the High Court

Council bosses managed to get many of the group's arguments for stopping the buy-back plan thrown out by judges at a court hearing in November.

Dudley Council and the association have been at loggerheads for seven years.

The council refused the original plans in February 2007, against the advice of its own planning officers.

But in July 2008 the Planning Inspectorate reversed Dudley Council's decision, granting outline planning permission for the mosque, after an appeal.

Dudley Council's planning committee threw out the association's most recent full planning application in September 2011 amid thousands of objections from residents.

Under the £6million plans, the mosque would be built on the former Nuttall factory site in Hall Street. Muslim leaders had already scaled back the size of the building and its features in a bid to appease protesters.

The complex was to include leisure facilities, open to non-Muslims, as well as two cafes, a sports hall, a gym, a nursery and a permanent exhibition of Muslim beliefs.

But councillors sitting on Dudley Council's planning committee said new designs would still mean the mosque was not in keeping with medieval features of the town including Dudley Castle.

Three petitions opposing the mosque have attracted 60,000 signatures. Among their reasons are that the site was designated for employment use and there were fears the scheme would cause traffic problems.

The council's legal bill for trying to buy back the land now stands at more than £80,000.

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