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Government set to reject east London 'Mega Mosque'


The government is set to throw out plans by NRAP to create a massive mosque in east London, according to reports

The Sunday Telegraph claims ministers are to turn down a planning application by the orthodox Muslim Tablighi Jamaat sect to build the 9,500 capacity ‘mega mosque’ in Newham.

The secretary of state’s decision follows a planning inquiry held last year. The religious group appealed to the planning inspector after its proposals were rejected by the London Borough of Newham in December 2012.

The scheme has had a long and controverisal history.

An early vision for the project by Mangera Yvars fell by the wayside in 2007 when Allies and Morrison took over as architect on the job.

Cambridge-based NRAP then replaced Allies and Morrison on the scheme in November 2011.

The practice subsequently scaled down the previous 12,000-capacity plan and scrapped proposed commercial and residential uses.

However, the building would still have been bigger than Battersea power station, containing two main gender-segregated prayer halls and a further 2,000 in a separate hall.

The scheme has proved highly contentious provoking local protests against the scale of the proposals.

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said that no date has yet been set for the announcement of secretary of state’s decision.

NRAP declined to comment on the story when contacted by Architects’ Journal.


Ali Mangera, director of Mangera Yvars
‘Architecture should build bridges not walls. On a site of this size, to create a single faith space lacks strategic vision as the scheme should inclusive and open to the entire community.

‘Creating prayer space alongside non-denominational cultural functions could be much more interesting for Newham and London.’

‘Our scheme did include a large cultural aspect - but even that would have required proper consultation to create many more stakeholders. In this day and age, the last thing we want to create are faith based ghettos- it just alienates people.’

Mangera Yvars' mega-mosque proposals from 2006

Mangera Yvars’ mega-mosque proposals from 2006

Previous story (AJ 06.12.12)

Newham Council reject ‘Mega Mosque’

Newham Council has dealt a severe blow to NRAP Architects’ plans to build a ‘mega mosque’ with confirmation that it has refused planning permission

Last night’s decision by the council’s Strategic Development Committee was immediately denounced by supporters of the scheme who vowed to fight on and seek a judicial review to overturn the decision.

The high-profile Riverine Centre project features a 29,000m² mosque alongside a library, visitors’ centre, eight apartments and a sports pavilion.

Newham Council said the scheme failed to satisfy planning policies which advocated a ‘mix of residential, employment and community uses’ for the site.

The refusal is the latest chapter in the long-running saga which began in 2006 with a vision for the site by Mangera Yvars. That  fell by the wayside in 2007 when Allies and Morrison took over. Allies and Morrison were replaced by Cambridge-based NRAP Architects in 2011.



Readers' comments (3)

  • Ask those Muslim people if they accept building a church in a Muslim country.... They do not.....As a Muslim origin I support government's decision. If they want mosque they can go back to their origin country.

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  • I think the timing is not right. Such a huge amount of money to be invested on the gigantic project could have been used to comfort homeless and hurting Muslims, victims of wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other Islamic countries. In as much as I appreciate the efforts of those who have the vision to build the mega mosque, I would have loved it better if the money was spent on people and not on buildings. People matter a lot. If you loose them now who would come to pray in those structures built for prayers

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  • I've got this idea for a space or series of spaces that are completely non-denominational, like a university prayer room..Anyone could use it for services/prayers/ rituals. It could work since different faiths have different holy days etc.. I think religious leaders should get together and try and make something like this work. I'm sure someone must've already tried it, perhaps time to try again? The idea has historical and religious precedent. Muhammad (saw) himself allowed Christians to hold prayer services in the mosque at Medinat al Nabi. The religious institutions should work on initiatives like this or become irrelevant. Perhaps the time has never been better, we've got a really nice pope, the horrors of IS have really helped bring out the essential liberalism of the decent majority of Muslims etc.. By showing such togetherness you could beat IS more effectively than with bombs :)

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