Monday, 22 February 2010
National Security Surrey Heath Style
Surrey Heath planning committee have given the thumbs-up for the building of a giant mosque overlooking Britain's top military academy Sandhurst. Council chiefs will try to force the application through next month.
The building would have a huge dome and two 100ft minarets towering over the soldiers' parade ground, which is positioned directly in front of the Officers Mess.
Security experts have warned the mosque could become a magnet for radical Muslims if it goes ahead. Top brass have lodged an official objection backed by 7,000 residents who signed a petition. A security source said: "We have some concerns and have been checking links with known radical mosques in other areas and postings on websites. Police special branch has asked to brief the local council."
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "Sandhurst has put in an objection on the grounds of security." A Surrey Heath Council spokesman said: "The submitted plans state that there will be no access to the minarets above the roof level of the building."
I know this area well. Planning applications were always thoroughly vetted, particularly from a security aspect, because of the importance of the Academy. Back in the 70s I remember a real stooshie when a developer made an application for a block of flats, which were four storeys high (even though older surrounding buildings were taller). There were thousands of complaints on the grounds that the frontage overlooked part of Sandhurst's grounds and the application was thrown out on its first presentation.
It's of no concern to me if this is a mosque or a cathedral. Any building with such visual access to the grounds of Sandhurst should not be granted planning permission.
It would appear Surrey Heath Council have no such understanding of national security. Perhaps someone in the MoD will find the ability to knock some sense into them before it's too late.