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Dudley mosque battle bill hits £1.7m

Dudley | News | Published:

Spiralling costs linked to plans for a new mosque in Dudley have topped £1.7 million, it can be revealed.

The amount covers the lengthy legal battle as well as security and policing costs for demonstrations in the town.

It comes as Dudley Council said it faced a £10,000 bill for security costs after the latest far-right protest in the town.

Britain First held a controversial protest in Dudley on Saturday – barely three months after the English Defence League demonstrated for the third time.

Britain First protest in Dudley

Fewer protesters than expected arrived on the day but many traders still closed up early or shut completely fearing trouble.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson today hit out at protesters for landing the authorities with large bills.

"There wasn't a huge financial cost of policing the march on Saturday as there has been previously, but officers from across the region and other parts of Dudley and the Black Country had to police the protest in the town centre rather than getting on with their local policing duties on that day," he said. "Local policing in the rest of Dudley and the rest of the West Midlands has suffered as a result.

"Traders will have lost huge amounts in takings from what should have been a busy Saturday in Dudley town centre."

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In February, Dudley Council had to spend £25,000 on security measures and clean up costs for the EDL protest.

The EDL march in Dudley in February of this year

West Midlands Police was forced to spend £321,000 on its operation for the EDL rally with hundreds of officers drafted in.

While police have yet to reveal how much the Britain's First demonstration cost to control, previous far-right protests have hit the cash-strapped force.

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In 2010, police spent more than £400,000 policing two EDL rallies while Dudley Council spent £300,000 on security and clean ups.

Plans for the mosque have been fought through the courts between the council and Dudley Muslim Association.

Dudley Council has so far spent £213,000 on legal costs while the DMA says it has paid out around £500,000 in planning application-related fees and legal costs.

Planning approval for the scheme was granted last year but both parties are awaiting another High Court hearing.

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