THE Newcastle Muslim Association has disputed a unanimous resident vote that there was no community support for a plan to build the Hunter’s first purpose-built mosque in Elermore Vale.
The association also rejected claims that no consultation with the community had been done prior to submitting a development application with Newcastle City Council.
Hundreds of residents voiced their concerns over the proposed mosque at a meeting in the suburb on Wednesday.
Spokeswoman for the Newcastle Muslim Association, Diana Rah, said extensive consultation had been undertaken with immediate neighbours, local businesses and service providers, and concerns expressed during the consultation period were addressed to the best of their ability during the planning stages.
She said the association had hired an independent consultant to prepare a social impact report before submitting the application in August.
‘‘Despite the misconception that we have no support, we would like to thank all those residents in Elermore Vale and surrounding suburbs who do support us,’’ she said.
Mrs Rah said there had been no problems in the 20years that an existing building at Wallsend had been used as a mosque, with members and the community existing peacefully.
She said the new building, if approved, would change nothing.
‘‘It will be the same thing but with the better side of on-site parking and space to accommodate for our community so we are not cramped,’’ she said.
The Newcastle Herald yesterday confirmed with property seller Andrew Ferguson that the association was yet to pay for the Croudace Road site it bought in March, and the sale of the 8300square-metre block of land was subject to consent of the mosque development.