Huge new mosque in Cardiff to go ahead despite fears of traffic gridlock

An artist's impression of the proposed new mosque for Lucas Street in Cathays
-Credit: (Image: R. Hughes Designs)

Plans for a new community centre and mosque in Cardiff have been given the go-ahead despite concerns over potential traffic chaos. Cardiff Council's planning committee met at County Hall on Thursday, June 6, to approve the proposal, which will see Medina Mosque in Lucas Street, Cathays, completely rebuilt.

However, some residents are worried it will exacerbate the issue of parking in the area when there is an event at the 300-capacity site, with one person saying a fence and wall were once damaged by cars turning around on private property. Chair of trustees at the mosque and community centre, Javaid Iqbal, said the centre co-operated with residents on these particular issues that happened about two years ago.

He also said he was not aware of any issues having happened since. He said: "I have been to them [residents] a few times and we have invited them to the mosque as well." For more Cardiff news, sign up to our newsletter here.

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Building behind a fence
The existing mosque -Credit:Copyright Unknown

"We apologised and they accepted our apology and admitted it wasn't our fault, but it is still a concern for them. We have tried to educate people. We have put signs up, we have put the cones out."

Despite this, residents still felt parking was an issue in the area and that this had not been properly reflected in the planning application. Located on the ground floor of the new building, the community centre element of the site will contain a gym, cafe and library.

The mosque will be located on the second floor. The building will be flat-roofed and topped with two fibre glass domes. There will also be a basement element to the site which will include 32 parking spaces. Plans show an entrance off Lucas Street and an exit onto Robert Street, and include electric vehicle parking spaces.

Planning committee members were mostly positive about the design of the building, but also raised concerns about parking in the area. Cllr Adrian Robson said "there is a lot going for this application", only to add that he noted a survey undertaken by the applicant showing how people travelled to the site was questioned in a representation made to the committee.

A picture showing a car parked awkwardly on Lucas Street in Cathays, Cardiff
Some residents are worried that the parking situation on Lucas Street will get worse if a new mosque is built there -Credit:Anonymous source

The travel survey stated that a greater percentage of worshippers arrived at the site on foot. A transport statement from the council in the planning report on the mosque also stated: "The updated assessment appears to re-conclude that there would be plentiful and convenient on-street parking available to accommodate vehicle-borne demand for prayers on a typical Friday."

Another member of the planning committee, Cllr Peter Wong, said: "I actually think it is a really great design in terms of the building, but my concerns are the same... particularly around the impact on parking in the local area." On the transport statement, he added: "[It] doesn't take into account for the potential of expected zonal parking at a later stage that a significant part of Cathays is already covered by when it talks about the access to free parking on there.

"I would also like to see conditioned a traffic management plan that looks to support modal shift." Cardiff Council transport officer Chris Hanson said he counted about 16 available spaces for users coming into the area around Lucas Street when he visited recently.

He also said the site had the potential to attract 56 vehicles, but added that extra space for parking could be freed up by the removal of side hoardings in Lucas Street and Robert Street. Mr Hanson said: "It is something we will obviously look at in detail when we look at what would be the most suitable parking spaces to put in around that area and using the section 106 money that is available to us to supplement the money going towards the forthcoming... controlled parking zone in that area.

"It all needs to tie together and we will make sure we protect the residents and provide some on street space for users of the mosque." He said the applicants had provided a travel plan for the development, adding: "Looking forward we will be looking to increase the number of pedestrians... and reduce the number of car-borne journeys."