Near where I live there's a debate raging over plans for the building of a new mosque on the site of an old Victorian school in Camberley. The local Bengali Welfare Association have been using the site for the past 15 years to meet and worship at the Al-Kharafi Islamic Centre. Over the past decade the increase in islamic and Bengali activity in Camberley has been obvious with the flourishing of a number of halal supermarkets and chicken takeaways in that stretch of town along the A30 road. And the Islamic Centre at the site serves an area larger than Camberley, indeed my next door neighbour Sam worships there. Their plan is to knock down the current buildings, which have been home to a number of schools over the past 120 years.
As usual with any plans going through the local council machinations there's an awful lot of misinformation, lies and in the case of this application, bigotry flying about. First the council approved it, then they rejected it, then came the fact that you would be able to see the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst from the proposed minarets! Never mind the fact that a TA unit has it's base next to the centre. The Secretary of State John Denham has said that he would intervene if the council approved the plans.
Then there's the claims of increased road traffic, although the traffic has been awful on this stretch of the A30 for as long as I've lived in the area. Maybe something to do with the road being restricted to one lane each way because of the imposition of a bus lane? In fact this area of Camberley has been undergoing a long process of redevelopment which has seen many old buildings demolished. Perhaps capitalism has some back door way to winning round the council, something the Bengali Welfare Association seems unable to do?
Anyways, make yourself a cup of tea and browse the unrestrained and hilarious bigotry from the BBC comments page!