Talks 'mend relationships' after Camberley mosque row

St Gregory's Roman Catholic school building The building was sold to the Bengali Welfare Association after the school closed

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Talks have been held in Camberley after controversial plans to build a mosque were thrown out.

Surrey Heath Borough Council said an informal meeting was held for people in the community to explore how relationships could be mended.

The local Bengali Welfare Association had put forward a bid to knock down a listed building and build a domed mosque, which was rejected.

The association has not commented but previously said it might appeal.

Start Quote

There were ideas floated as to a way forward for the welfare association”

End Quote Council leader Moira Gibson

Surrey Heath council leader, Councillor Moira Gibson said: "The meeting on the 29 July was an informal meeting of different organisations and individuals within the community to explore how relationships could be mended.

"No discussion took place on the previous application because it could still be the subject of an appeal.

"There were ideas floated as to a way forward for the welfare association but no conclusions were reached."

Victorian school building

She said the outcome of the meeting was a suggestion that different parts of the community set up a working group to look at what could be done on the site within the planning parameters while retaining the listed building.

She added the council was happy to facilitate the working group project, but believed it should be led by the community.

The application that was turned down involved knocking down the listed Victorian school building in London Road, which is about half a mile from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

It was originally home to Yorktown Infants and Primary schools, before later becoming St Gregory's Roman Catholic school.

When the school closed, the building was sold to the Berkshire, Hampshire & Surrey Bengali Welfare Association (BWA) which has been using it as an Islamic centre since 1996.

The association argued that the building no longer met the needs of the growing local Muslim community, and people wanted to worship in a mosque and not in a school.

Local historians and residents had argued the town's heritage must be protected and opposed the plans.

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