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17 June 2015, 17:44
Capital's been told an out-of-court settlement has been offered to Dudley Council for land where a planned mosque could be built.
The Dudley Muslim Association has offered the authority £325,000 for the land, so that it could press ahead with the plans.
It has been a very controversial plan, as groups have descended on the town to rally against the plans for what they call a 'mega-mosque', including the EDL, Britain First and All Football Fans/Firms Against Islamisation.
Three protests have taken place in the town this year so far.
Dudley Council's Cabinet is going to discuss whether or not to accept the offer at a meeting on June 25.
Councillor Pete Lowe, leader of the council, said: “This has been a costly exercise for everyone. We have been approached by the Dudley Muslim Association who are keen to avoid any further costly legal disputes for both sides. We are carefully considering that offer in the interests of everyone concerned.
“As far as the council is concerned this is about the ownership of the land and getting the best deal for the council tax payers of this borough.”
Councillor Judy Foster, deputy leader of the council, said: “Community cohesion is very much at the heart of what we are trying to do, and the proposals put forward by the DMA in the planning process show that a third of the site will be used for a mosque, with the rest going to community use and car parking.”
The council won the right to buy back the land from the DMA in 2014 but the group appealed that decision through the High Court. A further hearing in the Court of Appeal is expected in October 2015 if a settlement is not reached.
The planning authority approved detailed plans for a mosque with community and sports centres on Hall Street, in November 2014. The proposed mosque would replace the existing Dudley Central Mosque which is located on Castle Hill and would close as part of the plans.