Plans for Harrogate’s first mosque approved
Last updated Mar 4, 2022
The former Home Guard Club in Harrogate looks set to be converted into a Mosque

Harrogate Borough Council has approved an application to convert the former Home Guard club in Harrogate into the town’s first mosque.

The building on the corner of Tower Street and Belford Road has stood derelict for several years but Harrogate Islamic Association plans to bring it back into use as a place of worship for Muslims.

The association, which was set up in 2011, has been looking for a permanent home for several years, with previous attempts at securing a site falling through. Around 100 Muslim worshippers currently meet in the Quakers’ Friends Meeting House on Queen Parade.

The association also organises prayer sessions at Chain Lane Community Hub in Knaresborough.

Sustainable travel

The planning application was submitted in December and received 107 letters of support and 68 objections.

Several objections said the Mosque would increase traffic in the area and that there would be a lack of car parking spaces, but these points were dismissed by council officer Arthama Lakhanpall in his report.

He wrote:

“The site is well connected to transport links and lies within a sustainable location for travel and access. It would promote walking, cycling and sustainable travel in this town centre location. It would therefore be accessible.

“There is no requirement for the proposal to provide off-street parking provision, although the site benefits from nearby short stay and long stay parking areas including the West Park pay and display and multi-storey car parks, and on-street parking on Belford Place, Belford Road and Victoria Avenue.”

The council tweeted the news this morning.

The HIA will run religious, community and charitable events at the building. It will also support Syrian and Afghan refugees who have moved to the area.

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Whilst the HIA has obtained planning approval, the next stage is raising money to purchase the building from the current owner.

£200,000 fundraiser

It hopes to raise £200,000 and has set up a fundraising page here where people can donate.

Harrogate Islamic Association said:

“We are grateful to everyone in the Harrogate community who supported us, including those at Harrogate Borough Council who engaged with us regularly to alleviate any concerns during the process.

“We view this as a success for everyone in Harrogate, not just ourselves. We can’t wait to welcome one and all for a cuppa.

“Our next step is to raise the balance of funds necessary for us to purchase the property outright. Although we have raised most of what we need, we had a number of pledges that were dependent upon planning permission being granted.

“So for the next 30 days, we will be collecting these pledges, inshallah. We are also re-launching a crowdfunding campaign to make up the difference.”