THE controversial proposal for a $6.8million mosque at Elermore Vale appears to be dead, after Newcastle City Council planners recommended the development application be refused on traffic and parking grounds.
If formally refused by the Joint Regional Planning Panel at a meeting on August 22, the Newcastle Muslim Association will need to look for a new site.
It will not be possible for the association to submit a new or revised development application that addresses traffic issues at the Croudace Road site, as the council’s new local environment plan prohibits places of worship on the block.
The council’s planners had initially recommended the plan be approved, but have revised that recommendation after a parking study found assumptions in the application were incorrect.
A review, by McLaren Traffic Engineering, said up to 267 car parking spaces need to be provided for Friday prayer services, and the plan provides for only 162 spaces.
‘‘The proposed development will create significant overspill parking effects for both the ... Friday service and on special service days,’’ the report said.
‘‘The scale of overspill parking effects is unreasonable and will create local adverse impacts.’’
The report also says access to a neighbouring property would be unsafe.
‘‘The proposed development in its current form creates unacceptable on-site parking and external traffic impacts ... of a scale that require a new DA,’’ the report said.
Vice-president of community group EV CARES Steve Beveridge said the report was a vindication of a year-long campaign by residents.
‘‘We raised [the traffic concerns] at the planning panel meeting on March 31,’’ Mr Beveridge said.
‘‘Unfortunately the media treated us as rednecks.
‘‘We focused wholly and solely on planning issues.’’
Newcastle councillor Shayne Connell has backed residents’ concerns, and welcomed the news yesterday.
Spokeswoman Diana Rah said the Newcastle Muslim Association had not had time to go through the details of the report.
‘‘So at this stage we’re not going to make a comment,’’ she said.