Campaigners hope Barnet advisers will decide whether or not Golders Green Racecourse can be used as a community center and place of worship on July 19.

Lawyers for the racetrack owners have been told that the council is making efforts to bring the matter to the town hall’s strategic planning committee on that date.

The request was made by the Markaz El Tathgheef el-Eslami (MTE) group, owner of the site since 2017 in July 2020.

At this newspaper, a spokesman for the town hall did not confirm the date but said the council was “under discussion” and was then working to hear the request.

In May, MTE accused the Barnet Council of breaking equality law in the way it handled the request.

The council fervently denied this, saying at the time: “We are proud of the strong faith communities that inhabit Barnet and all support in a culture of harmony and respect.

“The board worked closely with the applicant throughout the planning process.”

Lawyers for MTE cited “religious discrimination” which they said caused the delays, and said it was treated differently because it was a Muslim group.

The town hall said this was not the case and claims to have treated the request fairly.

Ali Madani, of the Faiths Forum for London, said: “It was as if we were being treated less favorably than the church which had used the Hippodrome for 10 years before it was bought by the Markaz.

“It is fantastic news that the board has now set a date for the decision.”

Religious leaders and community groups have supported MTE – most recently, individuals including neighboring rabbis Miriam Berger and Joshua Levy participated in a video for the Barnet Chooses Love campaign showing their support.

Mike Freer MP is among those who criticized an anonymous poster campaign targeting MTE.

It is not a mosque and MTE believes its use should be in accordance with the existing building permit. This approval dates back to 2007, and indicates that the building can be used “like a church to enrich the community with programs for children, the unemployed, the elderly, etc.” “, And” to organize concerts, conferences, theater and dance festivals “.

The town hall disagreed and took enforcement action against MTE in 2019. After discussions, MTE learned that submitting a new planning request may be a faster way to resolve the issue. rather than wait for a public inquiry into town planning which has been delayed due to the pandemic.



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