Peterborough mosque's call to prayer loudspeakers plan rejected

image captionPlans to broadcast calls to prayer submitted by the Masjid Ghousia mosque in Peterborough have been rejected

Plans to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer through loudspeakers three times a day to a city neighbourhood have been rejected.

The Masjid Ghousia mosque on Gladstone Street in Peterborough applied to the city council to install the speakers on one of its minarets.

Planning permission has been refused on the grounds it would be "an unwelcome intrusion on the soundscape".

The BBC has contacted the mosque for comment.

The application was for "the amplified call to prayer [the azan] three times per day every day (early afternoon, late afternoon and sunset)" for between three and five minutes at a time from four speakers located on the top of the tower.

In a report submitted to Peterborough City Council's Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, Labour councillor Shabina Qayyum, who represents the East ward on the other side of the city centre, said: "In view of the number of people affected by Covid-19 from the Muslim communities, and that they are unable to attend prayers in the mosque, this would serve as a welcome initiative to ease their anxieties in such challenging times."

Liberal Democrat councillor Terri Haynes, who represents Fletton and Stanground, said the application should be rejected "on the grounds that it will create a statutory nuisance".

"As Muslims have attended prayers at this mosque for years, it is not necessary for the practising of the religion and is therefore unnecessary noise," she said.

The committee refused planning permission by eight votes to three.

A council spokesman said this was "on the grounds that the call to prayer would have an unwelcome intrusion on the city's soundscape for nearby properties, thereby it contradicts the city's Adopted Peterborough Local Plan and noise stipulations in the National Planning Policy Framework".

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