SHROPSHIRE Council was accused of “political cowardice” by the British National Party last week, as the furore surrounding Oswestry’s first Muslim Centre continues.
Claiming the unitary authority was guilty of maladministration, Phil Reddall, a member of the far-right organisation, said councillors have a ‘moral case to answer’ following the handling of the application to change the use the former Presbyterian Church on Oswald Road.
He believes they should have made the decision after it received nearly 60 letters of complaint. Planning permission was granted by planning officers.
In a letter calling for an appeal decided by councillors, Mr Reddall said: “Given that the application received 103 public comments with the majority of these comments being objections, I firmly insist that the council should have made an electorally accountable decision. In fact, the council have acted with political cowardice and with no regard for public sentiment.”
Mr Reddall, BNP’s North Shropshire organiser, led a video and leaflet campaign against the application which was submitted by the Oswestry Muslim Society in November.
His letter said: “I believe that they have acted without due consideration to the views of the local electorate and as such the council have a moral case to answer.”
He called for future applications of a religious nature to be decided by councillors.
A spokesperson for the council said: “The decision was taken as required by the planning legislation having regard to the policies in the development plan, the National Planning Policy Framework and any other material planning considerations. In accordance with the Council’s scheme of delegation this application was delegated to officers for