Bendigo mosque group has written to VCAT

A simulated image of the planned Bendigo mosque.
A simulated image of the planned Bendigo mosque.

THE Bendigo mosque committee is seeking to have a number of conditions of its approved planning permit overturned at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

The group submitted its requests about two weeks ago and is awaiting a hearing, expected to take place in December. 

Restrictions on opening hours, limits on political discussion and a cap on the number of worshippers at certain times of the day are just some of the conditions the group is seeking to repeal.

Tomkinson Group planning consultant Munshi Nawaz, who represented the mosque committee earlier in the year, said Islam dictated that people prayed at certain times of the day and night.

He said the planning permit specified opening hours of 5am until 11pm, but the mosque committee wanted the building to be open at all times.

"Considering the daylight at different times of the year (the condition specifying opening hours) could be considered restrictive," he said.

"There are a number of prayers that happen in the middle of the night.

"We thought if that condition was removed it would better serve the Muslim community."

He said noise concerns would not be a problem.

"From the mosque's point of view, we are obliged to restrict all noise at the mosque to within the mosque,'' he said.

"If someone goes to the mosque to have their prayers in the middle of the night it shouldn't create extra noise for neighbours or people around the area."

He said the mosque committee was also seeking to have condition 28 removed, a contentious clause that forbids political discussion at the site.

"On principal we thought it shouldn't be a condition to operate any facility ... to restrict someone to discuss political affairs," Mr Nawaz said.

"No one should indicate what should be thought or discussed."

Other conditions the group is seeking to have overturned include the number of sealed car parks and the expiry date of the permit.

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Barry Lyons said the council had not yet discussed the mosque group's VCAT submission, but would likely do so at a meeting on Wednesday.


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