Councillor Papya Qureshi
Councillor Papya Qureshi

Westminster Labour is supporting a plan for a ground-breaking place of worship and community centre in the heart of the West End.

A planning application has been made to Westminster Council by the Aziz Foundation for permission to convert the basement and ground floor of the Trocadero building into a prayer and recreation space for those of all faiths. Current facilities in the West End do not have enough capacity for people who live and work in the area. This application hopes to fulfil that purpose, meaning worshippers will no longer need to pray on the streets, and also provide a much-needed prayer space for women.

Councillor Papya Qureshi, Westminster Council’s first Muslim woman councillor says:

“A lot of professionals who work or live locally would be able to use the prayer space, as well as the many people who come into town to watch a theatre show. In this age of greater mindfulness, a quiet space to meditate and pray is absolutely welcome and needed. This is exactly what the Aziz foundation is hoping to achieve with this space, which has gone unused for many years. The West End is made up of so many communities who all live alongside one another peacefully with respect and compassion. Having this new space will contribute further to this diversity and help celebrate the area as one of tolerance and prosperity.” 

West End Ward Councillor Pancho Lewis says:

“There isn’t enough space for practising Muslims to pray in the West End and an additional religious space is needed. The West End has always been welcoming to people of different religious and cultural backgrounds and we should proudly continue that tradition.”

The proposal looks to provide a main prayer space, for both male and female, a contemplation room for all faiths, cafe and a seminar room for the local community to use. The consultation for the scheme closed on the 28th May 2020. It will go to the Planning Committee on the 27th July 2020.

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