Plans by an Islamic group for a new community centre in Hereford have been rejected despite drawing nearly 40 letters of support including from the Bishop of Hereford.

Hereford Islamic Society sought outline permission nearly a year ago for the building on a half-hectare brownfield site off Canal Road, north of Commercial Road.

Among the 39 submissions supporting the bid, Mohamed Hassan said: “As a resident of Hereford, I find it very important to have a mosque here.”


Dr Khizra Waheed said: “owing to the growing community of Muslims in Hereford, I think it would be an amazing idea to have a mosque.”

Bishop of Hereford the Right Rev Richard Jackson wrote: “The scope for community cohesion and dialogue and enrichment of the wider Hereford community can be achieved I believe through this centre.”

And Amada Evans of the Kindle Centre said it had been hosting Friday prayers held by the Islamic Society in its building next to Asda for some time, and had “nothing but admiration for the organisation”.


But others objected to the traffic and parking it would generate.

And Historic England said the plan “would cause a high level of harm to the significance” of the remains of the mediaeval Blackfriars Friary, a scheduled monument within whose grounds it would partly lie.

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The council’s own senior building conservation officer Conor Ruttledge agreed that without more details of the scheme, “including its potential visual prominence and invasive groundworks”, the potential harm to the friary, and to the listed Preaching Cross and Coningsby Hospital also nearby, “cannot be properly assessed”.

Planning officer Ollie Jones said this, coupled with “a significant part” of the site being at risk of flooding, justified refusing the scheme.

“The proposal's potential benefits, such as community cohesion and well-being, have not been demonstrated sufficient to outweigh the harm to the heritage assets,” he concluded.