The DBMK meeting was held in MKSNAP on the 18th of October at 19:00hrs and was attended by around 200 residents. The meeting hall was packed and there were a large number of people stood at the back of the hall.
Cllr Barney said “I was incredibly pleased with the turn out by local residents, and I thought the atmosphere was just right. Residents had the opportunity to ask the Dawoodi Bohra direct questions and they did so with great vigor”.
The format of the evening followed:
- Introduction by Ward Councillor Lee Barney
- Introduction by representative from Dawoodi Bohra MK (DBMK)
- Question and answer session between the residents and representatives
- Statement by the Community Council
By far the most time was spent on the question and answer session and DBMK have clarified and re-affirmed some of their previous statements. A brief synopsis of the event can be found below:
- DBMK stated that the facility will not be a place of Worship
- DBMK said It was too early to state clearly what the building will look like
- DBMK said that the building would be a place for social activities
- Their main place of Worship was North London (A Mosque)
- They don’t anticipate many people coming from outside MK to use the facility
- Numbers may be higher than normal when an event is happening
- Members of DBMK will pray at home and would only pray at the center if it was time to pray and it coincided with an event that was happening at that time
- DBMK have tried to find space elsewhere but that building on this site would be right for them
- ‘Community’ in terms of the Community Foundation (MKCF) covers the whole of Milton Keynes, not just the local area.
- There is confusion in terminology as when DBMK first put a statement of interest in the land they applied for a ‘Mosque’ which was changed when they realised they didn’t qualify for a Mosque and their parent organisation told them this.
- 4 other parcels of land are Community Foundation Land
- The building of the facility will be funded by DBMK members and their parent organisation. In addition to the 75% discount on the land that they receive from MKCF
- Growth is inevitable in their group, however in the last 10 years their number has grown from 10 to 16 families (please note an earlier misprint had this at 60 families, this has been corrected to 16 families).
- They understand that residents would prefer the land left to pasture or that they prefer a medical center be built there, but that this land is community foundation land and as such it is available for other groups to apply for it
- There would be no call to prayers and the building would fit into the landscape
- Internal decoration would suit DBMK and that they expected the local community to accept them as they have adjusted to the local community
Other points where raised by the residents:
- The Community needs a medical facility
- The Community needs the green space owned by the Community Foundation
- It was felt that the open space was more akin to a community green
- It will be difficult for the DBMK to integrate with the local community as 95% of them don’t live in the local area so they’ll only be coming into the area to use the facility
*Please note that the above are not exact quotes but do represent the general flow of the meeting.
Overwhelmingly so, the local residents felt that the land should not be built on and even more so, that the land should be used to build a Medical facility.
Lee said “Residents are quite clearly very against the idea of anything being built there that isn’t a medical facility. Currently the planning document used by the Council to determine what can be built there requires that any new building be either for religious or community purposes. Even still the land is owned by the Community Foundation and what they do with the land is their choice. However, I will continue to represent the residents of my ward and I will ensure that the Community Foundation knows about the feeling amongst residents. Finally I will be asking for the Community Foundation to communicate with local residents. Unfortunately they could not be at the meeting, on the 18th”
If you would like to speak to Lee about this or any other issues in the ward, please get in touch with Lee through the following details:
01908 410 403