CONTROVERSIAL plans for a mosque on an area of open ground in Kirkcaldy have finally been given the go ahead, more than five years after they were first mooted.
Councillors agreed unanimously to the application by Fife Islamic Centre to build a three storey mosque with a central dome and four corner minarets on the land next to Cumbrae Terrace.
And the three councillors representing the area say they hope residents’ fears that traffic exiting the site at busy times would use residential streets around the Templehall area rather than wait in queues, will be allayed by an agreement by the applicants to create a new road into the site directly off the main Hendry Road and block off the vehicular access from Cumbrae Terrace.
The application was approved by the Kirkcaldy Area Committee yesterday (Wednesday) when all councillors agreed they had done everything possible to address concerns.
The controversial proposals – which had been submitted in various formats on three occasions and had been recommended for approval by a Scottish Government reporter, following an appeal after being refused by Fife Council – were given the go ahead subject to a number of conditions relating to road safety, landscaping, noise levels and operating hours.
Councillor Neil Crooks who represents Kirkcaldy North, said he had been disappointed by the undemocratic process in which a decision reached by the public and the committee previously had been “completely overturned by one person – the reporter for the Scottish Government”.
He said that a number of changes had been made to the application in its latest format, following the planned re-alignment of Hendry Road and Chapel Level, which would benefit local residents.
These had come about following discussions between transportation and the three local councillors and meant that cars leaving the mosque would go directly on to Hendry Road rather than the smaller residential streets in the area.
“It seems to me that various reasons there were for refusing it previously cannot be revisited because of the position taken by the reporter and we have to make the best of a bad job on access and egress,” he said.
Councillor Carol Lindsay raised concerns about the mosque operating hours which will be from 6.00 a.m. and 11.00 p.m. but was told that was the time the Islamic religion had to come to prayer.
Councillor Susan Leslie said it was unlikely that many people would attend the early morning or late night prayer sessions.