Opposition to new Afghan community centre plan

Community news and events from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

Community news and events from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday

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Plans to transform a Stanground pub into an Afghan community centre have sparked fierce opposition from residents.

A petition to stop the change is said to have been started with locals arguing there is no justification to open the centre.

A planning application has gone into Peterborough City Council and is expected to be heard in March.

The centre would be set up in the Golden Lion pub in Church Street which has been on the market for two years.

The application was put in last month by the Peterborough Afghan Shia Association, which is seeking to purchase the pub.

Opposition to the proposals was outlined by concerned resident Brian Hickey who lives in Thistle Drive.

Mr Hickey said: “There is not anyone from that community who lives in Stanground.

“It’s hard to understand why you would have a community centre for people who do not live in the area.

“It seems a very strange place to have that type of community centre. There is a lot of concern about it.

“Will this type of community centre be available for everyone to use?”

The proposed site for the new community centre is in the Stanground Central ward of council leader Councillor Marco Cereste.

No decision has been made yet by the council’s planning officer over whether they will recommend that the application be approved or not.

Any decision on whether to approve or refuse the application would then be made by the council’s Planning and Environmental Protection Committee.

Should the application be refused, the pub expects to continue trading.

Orton Longeuville councillor John Okonkowski, who has been speaking to residents in Stanground, said a petition against the application has been handed into the council.

The petition is believed to have around 100 names on it.

Nawid Amiri, who put in the planning application to the council, said there will be no disturbances to people living in the area.

He added: “We have been looking for a place for our community for a long time anywhere in Peterborough. We think anywhere in Peterborough is for the people living in Peterborough.

“We want to use this community centre for cultural events, sports and other social activities. Anyone who is interested to participate in these events is welcome and there is no discrimination.

“We have been living in Peterborough for more than a decade, We have proved that we are a community who can live side by side of others.”