Angry meeting debates Aspiring Communities’ plans for Ice Pak site

Last night (18 September 2014) 150 residents packed into the Beeston Parish Centre to discuss Aspiring Communities’ revised plans for the Ice Pak site on Barkly Road.

The building will be converted with a new brick frontage
The building will be converted with a new brick frontage

One man tried to disrupt the meeting by shouting “Don’t want it. Go away” as the architect explained the plans, but the majority in the room asked him to be quiet and allow debate. The building plans now relate mainly to the large white building on the site which will be converted into a sports hall, with a prayer room, classrooms and a multi faith centre above. Car parking has been expanded to allow for up to 170 cars.

The consultant from Amey explained how they were working closely with Leeds City Council Highways department on modelling traffic flows and that Highways would decide what measures should be put in place.

There were many questions from the floor, especially about traffic. Concerns were raised about traffic volumes, especially around Friday prayers. One resident asked “how will 170 cars get onto Barkly Road without snarling up Dewsbury Road and Old Lane?” Another said:

“Car parking (on site) is irrelevant, it’s traffic we’re worried about.”

There were many questions about the prayer room and whether the building was a mosque. Zeb Ahmed from Aspiring Communities explained that the building would be a community centre. He said this was a private investment by group of Muslims that want to help different sections of the community integrate.

One man said people in Beeston will never integrate, but the Secretary of Beeston Broncos junior rugby league club said that wasn’t true. They had white and Asian children in the team and he looked forward to using the sports hall, as there was little similar provision in the area since South Leeds Sports Centre had been demolished.

One lady then said “It doesn’t matter what you think of the prayer room, if you want to oppose this development you must concentrate on traffic, pollution, noise and light.”

After an hour of often heated debate, in which not all the speakers were able to finish their presentations, a large number of residents left the meeting after one (white) resident said:

“This is not about traffic, what I’ve heard in this room tonight is racism.”

The meeting carried on for a further half hour and heard about the work of the Advisory Committee that includes Hunslet Hawks, the Police and several other non-Muslim members. This committee oversees Aspiring Communities activities including the programme of summer games in Cross Flatts Park.

It was suggested that the building was in the wrong place and to look at sites at Elland Road or Stank Hall Barn, but Zeb Ahmed said:

“This is a community centre, to serve the community it needs to be in the heart of the community.”

He confirmed that the scheme, which will cost £4-6m, will use local building contractors and the funds had been raised by supporters in Leeds and around the UK. A leaflet with site plans has been distributed locally and is available on the Aspiring Communities website:

The plans are due to be submitted to Leeds City Council for planning permission shortly at which point residents can lodge their support or opposition to the project. The decision will then be made by Councillors on the Plans Panel.

75 Replies to “Angry meeting debates Aspiring Communities’ plans for Ice Pak site”

  1. A poor experience for me, the meeting was spoiled by a small number of people who don’t know how to behave at such events. Because of that, the opportunity to ask many legitimate questions was sadly lost.

  2. Some people are angry because they are ignorant and fear integration. Council should pass any plans that will encourage, inspire people to learn about each other and work together to educate.” . The go ahead of the plans will send out anti-racist message whilst engaging with a community and provide a local venue to meet the needs of the community.

    1. Would it not be better for the Asian Community if they tried to integrate into the local way of life. There are several places in Beeston where integration can be met, i.e. pubs and clubs, where people meet to know each other. This is not the Asian way of life, and so, this project is doomed before it gets off the ground.

      Also the traffic on “prayer” day will be horrendous on Barkly Road, causing worry for the local parents who have children at the nearby primary schools.

      Lets scrap this plan, what about a local cinema?

  3. Mrs Ahmed, some people are angry because their children’s safety is at risk. Some people are angry because they don’t see why any development to integrate communities should include places of worship, and some people feel that integration would be best served by people getting to know each other without religion getting in the way.
    What you are suggesting is that the council should force something onto an area that it clearly does not want, because you think that is for the best. Forcing this through will send out only one message – “we don’t care what you want, we will tell you what is best for you!”
    That’s not the way to promote integration, trust and anti-racism, it is the way to alienate and further repel the very people that this is supposed to be helping.

  4. I live on Barclay Road. My best friend is Muslim and my partner is mixed race. I am not a racist.

    My objection to the proposed plans is strictly due to the volumes of traffic that will be travelling down a highly populated road. A road that the highways department have already have felt the need to place speed reducing structures and twenty mile per hour signs on. On this road, adjacent to the site is a Primary School which already contributes to increased traffic twice daily, five days per week.

    As for the claim that the ‘multi faith centre’ will encourage acceptance and integrate the community, I feel if forced on the local residence who have already made their opinions known, will in fact have the opposite effect!

    Aspiring Communities you should have done your homework before you purchased the site. Asking the views of the local community you think you serve would have been a good start! Nobody ever sent me a letter or knocked on my door!

  5. I completely agree with Mr Sweaton’s comment.

    The way to promote integration is to allow people, who have never talked to each other before, to talk to each other, in a completely non-religious setting, and get to know each other and understand people’s belief’s and suchlike.

    The meeting was at times heated, probably not helped by the lack of a Chair, nor the representative from Aspiring Communities having a relatively short temper and lack of patience when listening to those in attendance who wanted to raise legitimate concerns about this development.

    When it appeared that the representatives from the charity were firmly on the back foot, the charming lady at the rear of the hall (probably a plant) decided to use the old trick and accuse everyone of being racist, a most unpleasant slur, and one made with no evidence nor justification – other than from the elderly gentleman at the front, who made his feelings perfectly clear at the beginning before leaving the meeting.

    Surely a racist wouldn’t have bothered to talk about the traffic, safety issues with large numbers of children likely to be in the vicinity at a time when lots of vehicles are leaving the site, nor potential disruptions in the event of the development proceeding….

    Another point to mention was the conspicuous lack of input from two of our Labour councillors who were at that meeting – I wouldn’t have expected them to come out strongly against the proposal, but to at least have an input into addressing the concerns of people who live in the local area, some of which have been listed here previously.

    Of course, it’s the easiest way to close down debate – start calling those who disagree with you a racist. It’s not something that people particularly like being called, and in many cases is sufficient to keep them quiet – as being willing to stand up for yourself against accusations of racism (in this instance without the slightest justification) could potentially affect relationships with members of the community, colleagues and so on if these slurs are made public.

    1. It doesn’t matter what we local people want , the local council are all for pretend ethnic integration. Why do we need more mock mosques in beeston. Try building something for the local kids , all we have is a park with nothing on it for our younger end.we are not racist but a lot of the people who will be using the so called integration centre are racist . We’ll done to Congreve &amp Gabriel ignore the locals same as you did in the wood views beeston. Try getting your car round those streets never mind parking. Cars just park willy nilly all over obstructing everyone.we will be protesting on twitter and face book to vote you out , it is a farce to say they want a better beeston for us we don’t have anything left to be proud of . Time to move on I think. .

  6. How can you judge something will be wrong for you or the community you live in before it has even begun.
    Practising muslims should not attend pubs and clubs
    How can you even ask this, you are asking people to direspect thier beliefs
    All of us have young children so we are all concerned regarding our children but that does not mean you can say one area will become more busy and your concern for your children will grow, a unforseen incident can happen on any road at any time we can not presume it.

  7. There is a correlation between traffic volumes and accident rates.
    The relationship is not linear, twice as much traffic does not mean twice as many accidents. However, accepted understanding is that more traffic equates to more accidents – pretty much common sense.

  8. IF practicing Muslims cannot even go into a pub or club ?
    Why is it OK for them to sell it in their shops or transport it in taxis etc ?
    The same thing applies why would non muslims want to use a mosque , sorry multi faith center that based inside a mosque ?
    This building is not welcome in the community ,pretty much the same as a red lion pub or cafe selling bacon sandwiches would not be welcome in a muslim area

  9. Thank you Dave for admitting that Muslims aren’t welcome. When did you decide and dictate who is allowed in a specific area. Its a free country and everyone has an equal right. Please try and be reasonable.

    1. Hi Naz.
      I think you misread read the post. “Dave” didn’t say that Muslims aren’t welcome.

      He wrote:
      “This building is not welcome in the community ,pretty much the same as a red lion pub or cafe selling bacon sandwiches would not be welcome in a muslim area”

      Nowhere in there does it say Muslims are not welcome.
      I appreciate it can be very easy to infer other meanings to peoples comments based upon our own prejudices….

  10. In regards to Muslims who sell alcohol thats up to them. Everyone has a right to go where he or she feels comfortable. We still welcome you with open arms…. have done and will continue to do so.

  11. Naz , why dont you be reasonable ,when did you decide and dictate that we should have a mosque dropped into the middle of an area where it is far from welcome.
    Why is it you wont listen to the 100s of people who wrote in protest against this last time.
    No body has ever said muslims are not welcome .but maybe for a change how about trying to integrate into the local way of life ,instead of trying to force your ways upon us ?

  12. Dear All,

    Please try to understand and respect everyone’s views. I’m a imam of a mosque and this problem was presented to me by local of the area. He had his concerns and questions. His questions raised many issues and I had to read upon this Community Centre proposal before I answered him.
    Let me state as muslims, we should respect all religions whether we believe in them or not. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are branches from the same tree – you could say Abrahamic Religions as we all believe in the God of Abraham.
    My non-Muslim friends, let me assure you that a true practising muslim will not commit inhumane sins or practises that will affect the whole community of mankind. Our goals are to serve our Lord and care for community which consists of men and animals. As God’s creation has it’s rights upon us. Shameful acts such as ‘grooming’, drug-abuse and brain-washing young individuals into terrorists is the today’s cancer that exists in our society. This cancer is killing us and tearing our whole community apart. We must come together to combat it and drive it out until it exists not.
    One of my friends, a good Reverend asked my opinion upon a subject regarding idols. He was deeply troubled. An incident had occurred at his local church where he practised. The actions of his superior troubled him. Inside the church main hall, a religion that worships idols was allowed to practise their religion. My good friend, the Reverend was troubled by this. He asked for my council. When he related all this to me. I knew his question and I told him that he already knows the answer.
    Monotheism and non-monotheism. Should the church allow them to practise idolatry?
    Let’s comeback to current scenario. Multi-faith room can not exist, I’m sorry that all monotheistic religion fundamentals oppose all forms idolatry. Therefore, the prayer rooms can not exist in such building unless it is solely being built for a place of worship. In which case this will be a mosque, church, a temple, etc.
    Now as this is going to be a community centre – why don’t Aspiring Communities drop the idea of a prayer room and concentrate on providing the local community what it needs.
    Lastly, my personal opinion as this is my own opinion I would like to apologise if anyone is offend as I have no means to offend anyone. I believe from reading all the views of everyone concerned that this centre is not viable as there is a need for housing – therefore in my opinion AC should sell to a developer who will in turn take down the factory and provide houses for the community. Correct me if I’m wrong as there is John Charles Sport Centre, Hamara Community Centre, local churches and mosques quite close to this centre. Why not use them. My advise to AC is to sell up and look for another area which needs this centre.
    I hope we can all co-exist and come together as one community where barriers of hatred and racism and discrimination do not exists. Thank you for your time and patience in reading this.

  13. Good Afternoon,

    Clearly there are still conflicting issues and we at Aspiring Communities feel it a real shame that the meeting/public consultation came to an abrupt end in the manner it did.
    There was much direct and indirect racist slur from the outset which is why we believe integration is paramount and the only way different communities can live and work in harmony.

    We categorically deny having any connection to the individual whom made remarks of a racist nature, it was an individual opinion and absolutely none representative of our charity organisation, Aspiring Communities.

    But, on the same token (as you correctly mention the elderly gentleman at the beginning) and also throughout the meeting there were discriminatory remarks, why was this allowed to go on, nobody put their hand up to put a stop to it, why?

    For those who remained after the incident the discussions continued for a short while longer with the intention to further allay some of the fears and to provide clarity.

    If this was a ploy or “Plant” then surely we would have played the “Racist” card some time ago but the truth is that we genuinely want to work within the local community and hence to date have had much dialogue with local authorities and community groups from which the Steering Groups was formed, consisting of several local organisations and individuals, none of which are even Muslim or Asian.

    “If its just a Community Centre then that’s fine”, as soon as the Islamic Centre is mentioned tensions are elevated, why?

    Let’s have a sit down and discuss real concerns.

    We still openly welcome your thoughts and opinions, please contact us on

    Kind Regards


    1. So why does it have to be an Islamic centre , why can’t it be a Christian centre or community centre which accepts all ? Do you think any ethnics would use it? Or would that still be classed as racist?

  14. **In response to Luke Senior**

    Good Afternoon,

    Clearly there are still conflicting issues and we at Aspiring Communities feel it a real shame that the meeting/public consultation came to an abrupt end in the manner it did.
    There was much direct and indirect racist slur from the outset which is why we believe integration is paramount and the only way different communities can live and work in harmony.

    We categorically deny having any connection to the individual whom made remarks of a racist nature, it was an individual opinion and absolutely none representative of our charity organisation, Aspiring Communities.

    But, on the same token (as you correctly mention the elderly gentleman at the beginning) and also throughout the meeting there were discriminatory remarks, why was this allowed to go on, nobody put their hand up to put a stop to it, why?

    For those who remained after the incident the discussions continued for a short while longer with the intention to further allay some of the fears and to provide clarity.

    If this was a ploy or “Plant” then surely we would have played the “Racist” card some time ago but the truth is that we genuinely want to work within the local community and hence to date have had much dialogue with local authorities and community groups from which the Steering Groups was formed, consisting of several local organisations and individuals, none of which are even Muslim or Asian.

    “If its just a Community Centre then that’s fine”, as soon as the Islamic Centre is mentioned tensions are elevated, why?

    Let’s have a sit down and discuss real concerns.

    We still openly welcome your thoughts and opinions, please contact us on

    Kind Regards


  15. Addressed to Aspiring Communities,

    What is your interest in 114 – 116 Barkly Road? How does this building fit into your plans? What is the purpose of this building, I believe you’ve been asked this question before. We would appreciate if you could outline and share your ideas with us.

  16. “If its just a Community Centre then that’s fine”, as soon as the Islamic Centre is mentioned tensions are elevated, why?

    Ash are you really so stupid that you dont know the answer to the question you posed earlier ?

    A community center would be for the community to use , a mosque is for the Muslim community.
    Why don’t you build it as a non religious building , no prayer rooms , Islamic learning center etc ? with guarantees it would never be turned into a mosque by stealth .
    Why ,because we all know your true intentions , you know very well a mosque has no chance of getting planning , but your community / multi faith center might not get the local communities alarm bells going.
    I asked in an earlier post what exactly a multi faith room was for ? whats it purpose ? and what will happen in said room ?
    Still waiting an answer from aspiring

  17. Good evening Mary, I hope you are well.

    We have been asked this question many a time &amp have answered it many a time to.

    We are preparing a FAQ sheet which we will posted on the charity website in the coming week, please take a moment to check in due course.


  18. Hi

    For everybody saying this is a good thing it isn’t! I am a muslim and even i don’t want it on my doorstep , yes it would be easier to get to more convienient but as many people have said before it is not right for the area .
    I believe that this will eventually become a muslim only centre in time, get rid of the mosque style entrance and design of the building and create something everyone can enjoy as i’ve stated before a dance/sports hall and gym etc….
    Honestly can you envisage that muslim families attending prayers will be happy with people coming in wearing shorts , vest tops etc…
    I don’t think so
    Come on guys really think this through.
    I love living in Beeston and have many friends here all of which are against this and i will support them fully in getting this stopped .


  19. Ash – many thanks for your reply.

    I think that the reason why the meeting quickly became heated was because it didn’t have a Chairman/woman to oversee proceedings.

    An experienced Chair would have asked the gentlemen referring to Rotherham to leave.

    As for the plant, I never said she was linked to you, more likely to be affiliated with Unite Against Fascism or the Labour Party, who’s two councillors in attendance were very conspicuous in their silence.

    I wouldn’t have the slightest problem with a Mosque (as this CLEARLY is) being built on ‘this side’ of Cross Flatts Park. However, the location is absolutely horrendous.

    I used to work in the construction industry as a surveyor and would welcome the opportunity to meet with the architect to discuss the ‘engineering’ work that would be needed to allow multi storey car parking on this site, as his statements were rather bland, to say the least.

    I await further communications from you in due course.

  20. Mary – I can answer this for you.

    The building on Barkly Road, formerly occupied by Passmore’s, was the subject of a proposal to convert part of it into a takeaway, which was rejected.

    To my knowledge, there hasn’t been any further proposals submitted to LCC for consideration.

  21. Dave,

    Please try to understand that we are trying build a centre that will be in-use by all. The purpose of the prayer rooms is there to re-educate today’s youth in how to be model citizens, to live life peacefully and to abide by the law of land. The youth have been mis-led and mis-guided by external bodies for far too long in the ways which are non-Islamic.
    Love, peace and harmony that’s what Aspiring Communities are trying to create.
    We need inter-mingling and inter-action of people to understand one another to respect one another. Barriers need to come down, Aspiring Communities are trying to achieve this under the guidance of Pir Arshad Mahmood. Does it matter if its an Islamic Centre? I think not Youngsters, young men and women need guidance. Let us guide them on the right path.
    Please come and speak to Aspiring Communities. Let’s share ideas on how we can move forward together.

  22. Brother S. Hussain,

    Why are you so negative. It’s not a mosque – it’s community centre with a spritual retreat if you want to be sincere. Different parts of the building will provide different functionalities. I’m sure AC can cater a dance room for you somewhere in the facility but by being pro-negative what are you trying to achieve. All communities need to come together. There is a lot we can achieve by coming together do you not agree. Does it matter what we wear or believe or support. We are unique and yet we are the same. We are all humans unless there are aliens among us.
    Do you sincerely care what someone is wearing. I wear an abaya and head scarf but I’m not bothered what someone is wearing. They can wear short and t-shirt. I don’t care do you. Please lighten up and be pro-active than negative.

  23. S Hussain

    Thank you for your comments. Please come and speak to us. Arrange a time that is convenient for you and lets sit together to discuss this. We took time out to meet another local resident a couple of weeks ago and would be more than happy to sit and discuss things through.

    Thank you

  24. Hi Luke Senior,

    I believe the old Passmore building has been bought by Aspiring Communities and I would like them (Ash, Naz and whomever) to outline the purpose of this building. Is this going to be the ladies prayer centre with the Ice Pak being men’s? I mean it doesn’t make sense to have two buildings (one at each end of the road) at quite close proximity. I have no objections in people buying and selling but it would be great to know of their plans as we all reside here.

  25. Hello

    I don’t feel that a meeting will help your case to be honest , the majority of people in the area do not want a religious facility on their doorstep.
    I will continue to fight in the objectors corner , and if this gets the go ahead it could cause problems and issues in the area which nobody wants.
    Do we really want marchs and protests bringing to the local residents many of whom have lived here for years .
    It shames me that locals are getting branded racist by many people on here, people have their opion and who are we to push change upon them ? Integration will happen when the time is right not because you feel that putting up a building and calling it multi-faith will make integration happen.
    Thank you

  26. Hiya

    I am against this proposal have been since the first planning application was submitted . My reasons been noise, traffic, pollution, the design and look of the building as its not in keeping with the surroundings nor is it a modern looking building. The front of the building looks too much like a mosque rather than a community centre, the prayer room is massive in comparison to the actual multi-faith room which is more like a cupboard. If you are wanting to sell it as a multi-faith centre for the community why is this? Also if it is multi-faith why must we abide by Islamic law inside the centre ie- removing shoes.
    The fact that you are wanting to build this 2 streets away from the “bomb factory” as people call it worries the community is this community (teaching centre) going to attract extremists ?
    Take away any religious aspect of the centre and its a good idea !
    I don’t actually feel that any views are been properly listened to by the guys from aspiring communities.
    Another issue is how they are going to pay for this? I am of the understanding that they are wanting donations from the local residents to help fund the build !! So what happens when they run out of money ? Does it get left at whatever stage of build its in ?

  27. Hello to all,

    I have been reading everything everyone has had to say on this and have to agree with some points made by people. This appears to be more about a tax break for the investors so people saying how about putting up more housing would not get them the needed tax break. They would never agree to more housing for the area, something that is needed more than another Mosque or Church or a Sports Hall.

    I am pretty much sick of hearing if someone has a different view to someone else being branded a racist. This is not about race but about how an area is going to be used and what effects this is going to have on the community. Traffic on that road will be terrible during prayer times, there is also the noise pollution added to this not just from the increase of traffic but also building the location I am situated very close to the site in question.

    There is no such thing as a Multi Faith centre, religions are far too different. Let us be realistic here and not label it to something so it is more welcomed in the community as to what it is actually going to be.

    You could scrap the whole place of worship and make it a sports hall or community centre. But then again you would get no tax breaks. Also it still would not solve the problem of extra traffic and noise added to the area. Even when Ice Pak was running the noise from that place was a pain for some residents not to mention the trucks going up and down Barkley Road. I have a feeling whatever is built there is going to be far more of a nuisance than the Ice Pak was.

    Thanks Ian.

  28. Dear Ian, thanks for your comments and perspectives. Just a quick reminder that whilst we respect your individual opinion, firstly all communities have both secular and religious needs. Secondly there is a severe lack of investment for subsidised sports, health, community and faith facilities for all age groups within our local community that actually have a vision to bring the entire community together through offering purpose built facilities. Subsidised open access facilities irrespective of race, culture and faith, clearly everyone has a choice to share the vision and make it a success in a constructive, positive manner. You mention tax breaks, for who? …This is a private investment from a non profit making organisation, but as always it’s up to you to decide the merits of the proposed scheme. Many thanks.

  29. Dear Naz, You are missing the point that Ian and others are trying to state. Few of us have concerns as we should do in regards to traffic, noise and religious ceremonies. We have no concerns if there was community centre but how does the multi-faith element fit in. Having spoken to muslim neighbour who was defining to me that multifaith element does not exist in Islam or in any other religion as the monotheism will not accept polytheism or vice-versa. Please take time to read the above article by A. Hussain. I believe in reality you want to build a place of worship labelled as a multi-faith community centre but let me remind you that the local muslim community is already building a mosque why can’t muslims use that. If you look throughout history most wars were fought in regards to religion.
    There are plenty of religious buildings around the Beeston area. Being a Catholic, how would you feel if I wanted a statue of the Virgin Mary in your centre and my neighbour want a statue of Shiva, and another of Buddha. How would the muslims feel who will come there to pray. We are all in agreement apart from Aspiring Communities that the religious element is a NO! NO! The community centre is good idea and will most likely be used but the faith rooms are really for muslims. Tell me if I’m wrong. Be honest who are you trying to kid!
    You made a mistake buying this place as you didn’t do your homework. I sincerely believe you made a mistake in the purchase of this property. You’ve not understood the needs of the community.

  30. I’m sure Mr Hussain did say that but from one Hussain to another, he does not know what he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Since you want to beat the drum on religion Mary, ask him when Islam came to flourish in the Middle eastern lands what did Muhammad do…I think you’ll find that each person was allowed to live as they had been BEFORE Islam came to their land.
    Communities thrived, lived together &amp worked together Muslim or not, so which Islam is Mr Hussain taking about, please tell me!

    There are many Muslim denominations (Asia, Middle East, Africa etc) living on this side of the park, I myself live across from the Co-Op, clearly you have no idea of this.
    In many Muslim countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia etc there are thousands of churches and why should there not be, humans are free to live as they wish as long as they do not encroach upon others in any way.

    Today I don’t not practice but one day I hope to do so and I would want a local facility ideally. Do you really think that should Aspiring communities fail no other Muslim group will once again try whether that’s today or tomorrow or in several years’ time, it will happen at some point.

    Your point makes no sense “Being a Catholic, how would you feel if I wanted a statue of the Virgin Mary in your centre and my neighbour want a statue of Shiva” why would you want to do that?
    As a Muslim, why would I want to take the Islamic emblem into a Church, temple or synagogue, its nonsensical why would you even suggest it Mary? Surely you have the sense to understand that for anyone to do such in Any Religious place of worship would be a sign of disrespect.
    However, should you want to do such in the mutli-faith which you keep down playing that would not be a problem I don’t think Mary &amp Mr Hussain.

    Aspiring communities project isn’t the best out there, I’ve seen better and I probably won’t use the facility much tbh but I’m sick a tired of you all hiding behind curtains and firing (so to say).

    Referring to some of the previous posts, I agree many won’t be racists but it is clearly evident than many are clearly discriminating, but on what grounds?

    Just because Aspiring communities are a group of Muslims you should to be wary in case they turn out to be an extremist, really? That’s a real broad stroke which includes me coz I’m Muslim and the wider Muslim population but does that also include my english wife and children!?

    Clearly one the main community concerns is of extremism, do you think it will be resolved with you all debating on this blog or by actually working together?

    As a local and Muslim seeing global conflict I think there is a need to us all to embrace each other, we don’t need to live in each other pocket but definitely need to understand each other better.

    I don’t know whether its hatred or ignorance which leads to you talk such gibberish, please take a long hard look at yourself!!

  31. Having read the most recent posts on this subject, a few things have become apparent.

    There is a distinct wish to paint anyone who opposes these plans as a racist.

    The project is indeed a mosque. Just admit it for goodness sake, don’t insult people’s intelligence.


    My opinion is that the location for this particular development is absolutely horrendous. It’ll be a nightmare to build, and once it’s opened there’ll be increased traffic to an already busy area.

    I’d advise the group to find a more suitable location within the local area for this – I’ve no objection to a mosque any more than I have a Sikh temple or a Catholic Church – and would voice a similar disapproval if that was the case.

    Where are our elected representatives, our Labour councillors – putting the opinions of their electors forward?

    Or are they just happy to pocket their pay and stay quiet? It is Labour after all, no doubt I’m correct on that score.

    1. I am totally with you on the councillors , money gets people what they want no questions . It’s easy to play the racist card every time a British White person airs their views . I don’t want to use an Islamic centre to mix with people , I can talk to anyone anywhere with out being fearful of saying the wrong thing in the wrong place. This is not a building for locals to integrate it is a mock mosque . Too many cars and hoards of people will not be safe in such a small area .

  32. Thanks for your comments and your continual insistence to label the facilities as a mosque!
    1) Which mosque has a multi faith centre?
    2) Which mosque has an open access community centre?
    3) Which mosque has a youth skills/training centre?
    4) Which mosque has a community centre?
    5) Which mosque has a operational steering committee with 10 of 12 being non Muslims?
    6) Which mosque caters for Muslims and non Muslims?
    I think you might find it’s very far from a mosque! Thanks again for your views which are fully respected.
    With regards location, any community centre to be successful must be sited within the heart of the community, available and accessible to all.”

    1. Hi Naz thanks for the reply and answering some questions I had.

      The reason I brought up tax breaks is because that is what was being said in the community so I figured I would ask where as others have not. It is the belief of some community members that the main funding for this has come from one main source and the rest funded with the usual methods. Anyhow this is not my concern it was just more of a question.

      My main concern is the extra traffic I have kids who play around that area so yes it will be a concern. I am all for anything that will improve the area even the ginel from Barkley Road to Wooler Avenue. I used to live in a very highly populated Muslim area in Rochdale. During prayer times on the street I was living on always resulted in traffic being gridlocked. This resulted in local people having to set off early to work, so that they would be on time as the amount of cars on the street would cause issues and dangers due to dangerous parking and people being frustrated. I myself found that I could be up to 45 minutes late if setting off during prayer times. I have lived next to a mosque and seen firsthand how bad traffic can get. This is the reason I was bringing up traffic issues.

      The better location would have been just one street off towards the old industrial area. Not only are the roads better suited but also congestion would not be as bad as it would in the current area you have planned.

      Thanks Ian

  33. Dear Ian Many thanks for the clarity and your constructive comments. With regards extra traffic flows and hazards, we fully appreciate and understand your concerns. However, rest assured we are utilising one of the best highways traffic modelling companies in the UK, supported with the independent, nationally approved and validated TRICS database and system for assessment of traffic flows, based on worst case assessments of traffic flows l, I believe with modal splits not utilised in any planning applications previously anywhere in the UK. Furthermore, we have full accident analysis and the entire approach will be independently assessed and reviewed by LCC highways officers and experts. We fully appreciate the concerns on traffic flow but rather than leave this to subjectivity, we all need to let the independent traffic experts assess and decide on this matter, with their primary and sole objective being road and public safety for drivers, pedestrians and the local/surrounding neighbourhood in equivalence.

  34. Hi

    I was wondering if AC has noticed a pattern here ?
    No one seem to want a religious centre on this side of the park , traffic, noise and pollution all been understandable reasons for this .
    Having a community centre would be a good idea if the prayer hall and multi-faith room ( closet) is removed . Having access to sports facilities ie- sports hall , gym etc……….Why not use the upstairs as a youth centre , there used to be one where i grew up and i loved it …..there were pool and snooker tables darts and other activities it also introduced me to a lot of the friends i have now.
    I will do my best to have this plan stopped unless AC actually start listening to the community that this build will affect.
    Their only response is thats your opinion and we respect that!! But yet they are not taking any suggestions to mind. They seem to be stuck in their own minds.
    Lets stick together as a community and stop them till they start to listen to us ……!
    Thank you

  35. Afternoon Luke, lets not turn this into a slagging match. Its quite OK for many of the above named locals to imply (some rather directly…) Muslims are extremists but as soon its turned the other way you lot the first one to shout racist!

    Let’s move beyond racial barriers, I have resorted to cycling &amp bus as as I cant cope with traffic anymore but unless you are qualified to dispute the Leeds City Council and Amey road &amp traffic findings, I suggest you find another pass time.

    I totally agree with Mr Ian as traffic can become a real nuance but let me tell you this also. As a Muslim to date, I haven’t come across a well thought through plan like this, in theory anyway.

    Plenty of car parking, parking attendants, onsite security, a local community group etc.

    Give them a chance and should they fail to deliver, I will be the first to see the council and see it closed but it looks good for the community in my opinion.


  36. We all want to live in peaceful, safe neighbourhood to bring up our children with the knowledge and peace of mind that we have provided them the best possible opportunities in life. Aspiring communities are attempting to provide facilities for the entire community and have taken in to consideration the wider community needs as oppose to just one particular group (men, women, Asian, English, Muslim, non-muslim etc etc.)
    What I find peculiar is everyone is quick to criticise and object without giving a person, group the chance to prove they will deliver on their promises. Let’s give aspiring communities the opportunity to prove they are different. I live within walking distance of the proposed site and would be happy to have some facilities that will be beneficial to me and my family.

  37. Afternoon all

    I believe i am mentioned a little higher up in this thread as the resident that aspiring communities took time out to sit down and discuss with.

    Yes i would like to thank them for that but they still do not seem to have listened to a word i have said.

    Firstly i would like to point out the integration within the community requires a number of compromises to be met in order for this pipe dream to happen.

    The fact is that compromise is not something that AC are willing to listen to. They will not get rid of the islamic element as that is where their funding is coming from.

    I was disappointed that the gentlemen from AC shook my hand when i offered but when my wife offered she was ignored. This country has a proud history of breaking down barriers to give both male and female equal rights. I find it deeply offensive that my wife was not shown the same respect as myself and i believe that this “Islamic Teaching Centre/Mosque/Multi-faith centre” or whatever you want to call it is an affront to British Values. You talk about integration yet fly in the face of common values within this country.

    Can you seriously say that a group of strict Muslim men will not be offended if my wife wishes to use the gym facilities wearing her gym clothes? This whole project is completely geared towards the islamic faith and everyone else will have to abide by that. This is not breaking down barriers, this is putting them up and nothing more than, “welcome, come in and we are going to teach you about islam”.

    Come on, be serious about this. Are you telling me that you will disregard your values for this project to happen? NO YOU WILL NOT…..but you expect the local residents to!

    Also your recent Q&amp A sheet was very arrogant and in some ways threatening. Question 12:

    12. What will you do with site if you don’t get permission on this site?

    We expect to be granted planning permission as we fully comply with local community unitary development plans and policies both on a local and national level.

    However, should we fail to attain planning permission for the new intended community use, we may revert back to the original and existing planning approval in place for heavy industrial usage as per the previous icepak factory, keep hold of all existing buildings rather than the much reduced and aesthetically pleasing community centre we have currently proposed.

    I see this as “support our scheme otherwise we will sod the community and make things worse for you all”.

    I have made my feeling and opinions clear to AC and they clearly have no intention on listening to anyone who has an opinion against this proposal.

    Who do you think you are coming to a relatively peaceful and pleasant area telling us how to live our lives and that we should integrate with you, the arrogance is ridiculous! I have stated a number of times that integration will only happen with like minded groups. If the various groups have totally differing opinions on major subjects such as Women’s Rights or Animal Cruelty then integration is just not possible.

    Stop trying to tell us this is for the benefit of everyone, it clearly is not!

    I have no issue whatsoever with any faith as long as it does not have a negative impact on my way of life. This proposal will have a negative impact on where i live, traffic, noise, pollution levels etc etc. And because of this i dont even think a non-faith community centre would work either. The best use for this site is to build affordable housing on it!

    How can a community centre work if the people that are building it p!ss off the majority of the community before it’s even built.

  38. Dear Adam, thanks for your comments and perspectives. Just to clarify some of the points you make, the entire facilities are open access for all culture, races, faith and secular groups, with everyone having equal rights men, women, children, able bodied and physically challenged individuals and groups. To answer your specific question, contrary to your predetermined perceptions, yes your wife can wear what she feels as appropriate gym clothing and anyone else for that matter. You have particular views on the faith elements, which we understand, however there are people of faith and religion that live and reside in Beeston a few minutes from the site, contrary to your personal views. As you say, we need to adopt an open mind from like minded individuals that precisely what we are with British values of tolerance, peace and respect first and foremost. We have listened to the entire community, not just a handful of views, as stated several times the scheme caters for everyone with either secular or religious needs and no community group has been excluded, the rest is for you to decide and form your own opinion. We will however continue to do and encourage community integration events covering sports, education, multi faith and health screening which we have done locally within Beeston over the past year.

  39. Why will no one take notice of the local people. We do not need a multi cultural religious integration centre here in this small area , we don’t want one we want something for our young kids . Not lots of traffic and people go away please and re think as it will not be accepted or will not work as your so called integration .

  40. Naz Maroof has made a comment above and I quote “We have listened to the entire community, not just a handful of views” if he has and had listened closely he would have have drawn the conclusion that the majority do not want this community centre/mosque.

    It appears that both Aspiring Communities clearly trying to push this project through without due consideration for those that live in the locality.

    The last planning application submitted also saw most of the local Councillors against the proposal, I would be interested to know if this is still the case?

  41. If this is a “community centre” for the residents in this area of Beeston then who has asked the question “Would you like a community Centre?” As yet I haven’t met anyone, in this area of Beeston, who has actually asked for it.

    The proposals by Aspiring Communities are driven by Islamists, funded by Islamists and the steering committee is also wholly Islamic. There is no non-Islamic representation. This project is clearly for a mosque and should be rejected on the grounds that there are a number of other mosques already in the area which are more than adequate.

    I would go as far as to say that even if it was a secular “community centre” it still wouldn’t get my backing as there are more important issues that need addressing in this area and this land would be better utilised to build affordable housing for the Beeston Community.

    1. Thanks for your comment Colin, but I must correct you about the Steering Committee. I am a member of the committee and most of us are neither Muslim nor ‘Islamists’. We come from various sections of the Beeston community including community groups, the church and Hunslet Hawks rugby club.

      1. Thank you for the correction Jeremy it was only information provided to me on my recent visit to Ice-Pak and I apologise for my mistake. However, could you please provide me with a list of names for the steering committee and in which parts of Beeston do they inhabit.

        1. Jeremy I asked you for some information and as yet I have not received any communication back from you which is a little disconcerting. The question was “Could you please provide me with a list of names for the steering committee and in which parts of Beeston do they inhabit?” If you feel that this is not the forum to impart this information then you can eMail me directly with this information.
          Yours respectfully Colin Hendrick Ward

          1. Part of the legitimacy of the steering group members is their existing positions in the community and the organisations they work for.
            Aspiring Communities obviously recognise this as they list this information on their web site (link above).
            The steering committee members are associated with the following organisations and employers.

            – Together for Peace
            – West Yorkshire police
            – South Leeds Life
            – Chapeltown Youth Development Centre
            – Health For All
            – Hunslet Hawks
            – St Mary’s Church
            – Kids &amp co. local community group
            – Beeston Primary School

            Listing this information implies that these organisations support Aspiring Communities aims and intentions.
            if that isn’t the case, and the steering committee members only represent themselves in a personal capacity, then their employment or other affiliations shouldn’t be listed.
            I hope the steering committee members have considered this before having their credentials used by Aspiring Communities?

  42. I am amazed to hear so many if you complain about this project. What you are forgetting it you are not the only residents of Beeston or this side of Cross Flatts Park
    I have lived here for a number of year and find it refreshing that an organisation is willing to come to out area and spend there own money to build
    and provide a facility for the entire community, irrespective of race, colour or religion. We need to integrate with the wider community of Beeston and this could be the vehicle to do it with. A place where everyone is welcome and to know they are safe.
    Come on people, put your opinions/ prejudice to one side and let Aspiring Communities try to bring the project to fruition so that we all benefit, especially our children

  43. A few things on why I’m against this development
    4.its not in keeping with surrounding properties
    5.a supposed multi-faith centre that looks like a mosque and caters more for the Islamic faith than any other
    If this is truly a multi-faith why is the majority of the upstairs floor space an Islamic prayer space and the actual multi-faith area a small room in the corner?
    Many of my friends are Muslim and live in this area and even they have expressed their concerns over it .
    Why didn’t AC discuss this with residents before purchasing the land ? Nobody knocked on my door, nor did anything come through the post. Any other self respecting company would have done their research first.
    Everything about this development and the people behind it concern me.
    They removed notices that were put up around the site regarding planning. A lot of support originally came from Manchester, Bristol and Birmingham strangely all done in the same handwriting.
    I don’t trust anything they are saying at present. Until they start been truthful of their plans for the site i don’t think anyone will.
    I am all for housing to be built here. As I believe a lot of residents are.

  44. Thanks for your comments, contrary to what you say, the centre caters for all of the community with the faith elements less than 20% of the development facilities and uses, please take a closer look at the plans. I am also a local and with regards your other subjective points on traffic, pollution and noise these are all assessed as part of the planning permission by the councils experts”.

  45. And so we start again the planning application has gone in !
    Still no-one from aspiring communities has discussed anything with the people that matter…..the residents of beeston!!

    Why do i feel that we are been ignored by them and the council?

    Oh yes , because we are!!

    Aisha……Yes we understand that we are not the only residents of Beeston but does this build effect you ? No it effects the people that live locally around the site.

    It also has nothing to do with race, age , gender or religion the idea ( as a number of people have stated ) Is a good idea its just the location of it.

  46. Hopefully everybody will get leaflets again telling locals how to protest on the council public access web site.
    Would also be nice to hear from our local councilors which side of the fence they sit on now

  47. I love the fact that all the guys from AC just say “Thanks for your comments” but yet still take nothing on board from the residents.
    How many residents object to this development? Why are they still wanting to go ahead? Have they surveyed the residents in Beeston to see how many people would be interested in using the facilities they plan on providing?I bet none of this has been done!
    In their minds this area needs a mosque(which it is no matter what they call it )
    The fact that they withdrew one application already due to opposition why submit another one knowing its going to get exactly the same if not more numbers of objection?
    Yes it would be interesting to hear from the councilors about this!But whats a betting we won’t!
    One more thing as a journalist (Jeremy Morton)should be writing about things within the community but should he be biased towards AC especially as he is part of the steering committee his comments are all very one sided?

    1. Hi Kelly, I’m sorry you feel I’ve been biased in my reporting. I’ve tried very hard not to be. I’ve been open and honest about being on the Aspiring Communities Steering Group, in a personal capacity, and I’ve kept my own thoughts about the scheme to my South of the River column which is clearly labelled “Comment”.

      South Leeds Life does not a view on whether the Aspiring Communities project is good or bad. We have tried to keep the community informed about what is going on and we have provided a forum for debate about the issues.

  48. Hello,

    On the Aspiring Communities website it states that Yvonne Yeates is on your steering committee and works in education at Beeston Primary School. Is this information correct as I am a parent of a child at that school. When I asked at the office they didn’t know who she was. If so where does she work?

  49. Hi Mr Johnson

    We have updated the information on our website. Apologies for any confusion.

    Thank you

  50. Mr Morton,

    As you are a member of so called ‘Steering Group’ for AC, who are suppose to represent our community, maybe you can shed some light into the imaginary person who works at Beeston Primary school.

    I would have thought being a member of a Steering Group you would have had many formal meetings. These are important issues you are discussing which have a great impact on our community. At the next meeting can you ask Yvonne to go see Mr Lees the Headteacher as he has absolutely no idea who she is!

    Does this not speak volumes about an organisation who will go to any lengths to get what they want, making people believe that upstanding members of the community share their views. They even published this information on their website using the school name without permission from the School’s Governing Body.

    This really is not the way to build trust and community cohesion.
    I look forward to your comments.

  51. Thank you for your comment Mr Johnson.

    I can only speak for myself, but I joined the Steering Group because I think the Aspiring Communities has merit. The group is trying to make a positive impact in our community, so when they asked for help in shaping their activities and services I stepped forward.

    I am a member of the community, but I do not claim to represent the community and no one elected me. I am active in various local organisations and in each case I am present in a personal capacity.

    1. Hi Jeremy
      Are you able to share how you have been able to shape the activities and services of Aspiring Communities ?

      Also, couple of other questions you may be able to help with.
      Does the steering committee have any documented and agreed terms of reference or responsibilities?
      Do you take and publish minutes of your meetings?


      1. Hi Rich,

        We’ve discussed how Aspiring Communities could start activities rather than wait for the building to be complete before starting its work. Out of that discussion came plans for the Understanding Eid event at St Mary’s the summer play activities for children in Cross Flatts Park and the health screening events at the Police station open day and at St Mary’s.

        The Steering Group is fairly informal and practical. I don’t think we have terms of reference as such. Minutes are taken, but not published.

        1. Hi Jeremy ,

          With Cross Flatts people and the surrounding Ls 11 areas 90 per cent against this proposed building , would you push for AC to sell the land on to a housing developer if planning is rejected .



        2. Wouldn’t it be more constructive to have you promoting the understanding of British culture , heritage and history ,rather than you promoting Eid ??
          maybe starting with the people at Unaspiring communities

          1. Dave, I think you’ll find Britain has a large Muslim population and therefore Eid is now part of British culture. In fact the meeting didn’t promote Eid, it explained it and explored parallels with Christian festivals. It was about sharing information and knowledge, it was collaborative rather than competitive and it was in line with those great British values of tolerance and embracing cultural difference.

  52. What annoys me is how AC and the band of self-serving individuals that support this proposal have chosen to insult the people of Beeston’s intelligence by calling it a ‘multi’ faith centre when it will in fact be a mosque in all but name.

  53. Here we go again , the Muslims all supporting the mosque ,the white locals against ..
    If the morons at uninspiring communities think that dumping an unwanted mosque in the middle of barkly road will do anything to improve relations and integration they might as well believe the moon is made of cheese.

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