Concerns are raised over traffic congestion if plans for community centre gain approval

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Local residents who are opposing plans for a community centre to be built on derelict land in West Bowling Local residents who are opposing plans for a community centre to be built on derelict land in West Bowling

Angry residents have submitted a 200-name petition to Bradford Council opposing plans for a community and education centre on derelict land in West Bowling.

The centre, proposed for the corner of Parkside Road and Birch Lane, would offer language classes, homework groups and library and IT facilities.

But residents have started a protest against the plans, fearing traffic problems and saying the proposed building is too big for the space.

A group met at the site on Saturday, which currently has been dubbed an “eyesore” with an old garage on it, and has urged the applicants to get in touch to discuss the proposal.

The three-storey centre would open from 7am to 10pm and the Council will make a decision on the application next month. It would also feature three car parking spaces and room for up to five bicycles.

Amanda Braithwaite, of Birch Lane, said: “Traffic issues will be massive.

“We don’t think it will be used as a community centre. We’re worried it will be used as a mosque. Nobody has come to us to discuss it. The people who have submitted the plans just don’t want to meet with local residents. People are upset about it.

“We’ve already got seven community centres in the area. This is not a community against mosques.

“I think it’s too big a building for such a small site.

“Traffic is really bad around here at the moment and we fear people using the centre will park outside our homes.

“It’s been a derelict site for nearly 20 years. It’s an eyesore. Why don’t people just clean it up rather than build on it.”

Applicant Amir Raja says he wants to offer facilities for everyone to bring the locals together and that it would be a not-for-profit venture.

Mr Raja bought the site for £15,000 and estimates the centre will cost between £250,000 and £300,000 to build, with cash coming from community fundraising.

Architect Rashid Moghul said despite parking on the site being limited, he hoped the centre would be used by people who live within walking distance.

If the application is granted planning permission, work would start on the site next year.

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