Approval of mosque at 2-4 Peel Street, Holroyd

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Some residents of Merrylands and the surrounding area attend the Merrylands Mosque at 2-4 Peel Street, Holroyd.  It is an important part of the local community.
 
The mosque has been operating for several years but without development consent.  Application has been made to Cumberland Council to formalise the use. 
 
On 1 June 2018 the worship community applied to Cumberland Council for the mosque.  Council officers are satisfied that the use is safe and that the relevant building regulations are complied with.  However, Council officers are not supporting the proposal because of car-parking.
 
The use has, in the past, attracted 320 worshippers for Friday prayers. To address Council concerns, the worship community will now limit the use to a maximum of 80 worshippers for Friday prayers – the Merrylands Mosque community will organise itself to achieve that limit on numbers.
 
The site is within a small light industrial complex in a small light-industrial area at Holroyd.
 
Council officers are refusing to acknowledge that the worship community already hires the Holroyd Sportsground car park (from another branch of Council), where there are 38 off-street car-parking spaces.  Along with 6 off-street car parking spaces that are provided on-site, there are more than enough parking spaces to accommodate 80 worshippers.
 
In addition to that car-park, there is a large amount of on-street car-parking Robert Street – a short walking distance from the site.  Robert Street has the sides of properties adjoining it on one side and nothing on the other side, and so during Friday prayers there are a large number of parking spaces there – more than enough for the mosque.
 
Additionally still, there is a car-park at Holroyd Gardens (a recreational reserve) 200 metres to the west which contains 105 car spaces that are vastly underutilised during Friday prayers.
 
There is also a bus route providing highly frequent services to and from Parramatta, only 400 metres to the west of the site.
 
There were only a small number of submissions - 14 - to the mosque. 
 
Across Sydney, Councils need to take a more strategic approach to car-parking and land use. 
 
If worship communities were to adhere to traditional approaches to car-parking, they would be building huge car parks that would only be used once a week. That approach is unsustainable in terms of finance and the environment.  A more sensible approach is to allow the use of car-parking resources such as the Holroyd Sportsground at times that those resources are not being used. That is a mature approach to use of car-parking resources – and if Sydney is going to continue to grow sustainably the Councils across Sydney must adopt that more strategic approach.
 
The application goes to the Cumberland Planning Panel on 22 May 2019.  The worship community wants the Panel to hear from the community that the community supports sustainable and sensible approaches to managing car-parking resources across Sydney.