Perth’s Islamic Society has launched a third bid to build a million-pound mosque for the region’s growing Muslim population.
Original plans to open a place of worship in the city’s Jeanfield Road were seized upon by right-wing extremists who staged a demonstration on the streets of Perth in 2017.
But the group’s protest was considerably dwarfed by a show of solidarity from anti-fascism groups from throughout Scotland.
Earlier this year, developers lodged a fresh planning application for a mosque and community centre at the same site.
But the project was shelved after complaints from nearby residents about parking and congestion.
Now the group is hoping it will be a case of third-time-lucky as revamped proposals with a slightly scaled down design are tabled with Perth and Kinross Council.
The new plan addresses concerns raised by locals about the height of the building, and aims to allay concerns about traffic problems.
The new mosque is expected to attract between 100 and 120 people during the busiest prayer meetings on Friday lunchtimes. Around a third are expected to walk to the building.
Addressing complaints about a lack of on-site parking, consultants commissioned by the Islamic group stress that there is plenty nearby parking within comfortable walking distance.
A spokesman said that there is an informal agreement between the society and a nearby Lidl supermarket. “Attendees of the mosque can park at the Lidl car park and then walk the remainder of the journey,” a spokesman said. “The Lidl car park has 119 spaces and through discussions with the Perth Islamic Centre leaders, capacity has never been an issue.”
However, worshippers will be encouraged to park at the Dewar’s Centre where there is “ample capacity during the busiest Friday prayer session or religious festival celebrations of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha”.
Residents had argued that previous plans would lead to “reckless parking”, saying the area is already problematic for pedestrians and drivers.
There were also fears the development could overshadow nearby homes and could impact on emergency vehicles.
However, the plan was supported by local Labour councillor Alasdair Bailey.
In an unusual move for an elected member, Mr Bailey submitted a letter to planners backing the scheme.
“I wish to offer my full support for this application,” he wrote. “Not only will it bring some much-needed architectural interest to a brownfield site which is currently tatty and unloved, but it will also provide a purpose-built place of worship for the community.”
Planning officers are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.