Protests over plans to create a car park at a former Shipley church could backfire.
That’s the view of the agent involved in a scheme to extend the old United Reform Church in Bradford Road.
A flurry of objections prompted the applicant to cancel plans for parking spaces at the site.
But agent Mo Ali says this could mean people visiting the building will simply park on surrounding roads.
“We tried to avoid that happening,” he said. “So if people can’t see what could happen in future, we can’t help that.”
This week, Keighley and Shipley area planning panel will consider Mr M Qasim’s application for a side extension and new boundary walls at the church. Earlier proposals for a rear car park have been removed from the plan, which is recommended for approval.
The site has two separate buildings – the former church and the Sunday School. The scheme is for the church part to become a mosque, with the school currently being used to teach Muslim children.
“It’s a religious building and it will stay that way,” said Mr Ali. “We are trying to help the community. Mr Qasim has been around streets in the area explaining the situation. Most people are supportive.”
He said the applicant had even offered to upgrade the neighbouring unadopted road – Scarborough Grove – at his own expense.
“We can’t do any more than remove the application for parking spaces,” said Mr Ali. “But it could mean people will instead park on surrounding streets.
“It’s just a handful of people who are objecting. This is no longer controversial. It’s a community project.”
Residents and ward councillor Kevin Warnes told Bradford Council they feared creating a car park would dramatically increase traffic in the residential area.
Coun Warnes also said: “We should be seeking to discourage car use rather than helping provide high-carbon travel, especially when the building is next to good transport links.”
Other residents were also concerned there was not enough information about the plans.
One said: “We don’t know enough about the use of this building. This is vital in order to assess the potential level of disturbance.”
Others said parking in the area was already difficult. And one objector described traffic congestion at the bottom of Scarborough road as ‘a nightmare’.
The area planning panel will discuss the scheme when it meets at 10am on Wednesday in the Council Chamber, Keighley Town Hall.