Former army man starts petition against Ismaili community centre at former Worcester Park tavern
A retired army communications officer has gone door to door to draw up a petition against an Ismaili community centre.
John Claire, 64, now a director of the Holly Brook Road (Worcester Park) Management company, said he had about 150 people sign a petition against the conversion of the derelict Worcester Park Tavern.
He said: “We’re not against the Ismailis at all. It is traffic and parking. It is coming through so loud it’s screaming out.”
Mr Claire, who ended his military career in the Hounslow barracks in Hounslow, said he had not ever protested against a planning application before.
But he said he did not think the Ismaili predictions on car parking places and numbers attending added up, pointing to the fact a similar rejected application in Hook estimated a larger number of people using the centre.
A spokesman for the Ismaili community said: “I think people have legitimate concerns about parking and transport and the Ismaili community is open about its needs and assessment in the region.
“Most of the community lives in Worcester Park and New Malden region. The Hook proposal was to bring together two of our communities. The Worcester Park one is a single one to be relocated.
“There’s no secret about that at all.”
There are currently Ismaili community centres in Kensington, East Finchley, Croydon and Hounslow that have hosted open art exhibitions, talks for the elderly by Age Concern and early childhood development discussions.
The group also had 600 volunteers as games makers at the Olympics and have a network of work in poverty stricken areas of the world such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa.
This sector of Islam is different to the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama'at group that had its second application for a mosque at the old bank chambers in Green Lane rejected.
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