Newcastle mosque concerns

Two Newcastle City councillors asked for an extension of the exhibition period for a development application to build a mosque in Elermore Vale so residents could submit their concerns.

About 100 residents raised their concerns to councillors Bob Cook and Mike Jackson in what was an emotional, and at times "volatile", meeting on Saturday.

"I think in the end it was a worthwhile meeting," Cr Cook said. "We have asked management to extend the exhibition period but if they don't then we will take it to council."

The development plans were to be on public exhibition until Wednesday but the councillors asked management to extend that by a month.

The $6 million development includes the mosque, a house, a funeral building, a two-storey car park for 165 cars and a community hall on a 8300-square-metre block opposite the Elermore Vale Shopping Centre on Croudace Road.

Shaft Tavern owner Geoff Byrne said a committee was formed to lodge the submission to council and would employ a town planner to critique the proposal as well as a traffic engineer.

"Traffic is the major concern but there are also a lot of people who are concerned their suburb, in the next 10 to 15 years, will change dramatically," he said. "The driveway [of the mosque] will be opposite the entrance to the shopping centre and it is a very busy thoroughfare."

Diane Rah of the Newcastle Muslim Association said the plans were the result of careful consideration of the impact on the community.

The Newcastle Herald's online poll on the mosque proposal drew an extraordinary response with about 85 per cent of nearly 2000 respondents supporting the move to build the mosque.

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