A property developer has told residents in a suburban Douglas street that a building he owns would make a good mosque.
Businessman and director of Mountaindale Limited, Ian Abrahams wants to stage auctions at the Salisbury Street Methodist Church but has told residents in adjacent Farrant Street if they object he may offer the building for use as a mosque instead.
Mr Abrahams said he intended to preserve the existing church building and eventually convert it into four dwellings but only in three to four years’ time when the future of the nearby former bus depot site has been decided.
In the meantime he says he wants the building to be used, ideally as an auction house, rather than left to decay.
In a letter delivered to residents in the street he says: ‘The church has existing use as an auction house. No planning permission needs to be applied for.’
He tells residents: ‘A small handful of residents are objecting to any of my proposals... The building has existing use as a house of worship. I have spoken to religious groups on the island including fringe churches and none wants to use the building. However I have been put in contact with a mosque in Bradford. They are interested in using it as a mosque and learning centre for about 40 pupils mainly from Bradford but a few from Pakistan.
‘The choice is now up to you. If you decide to frustrate my plan A, (for the auction house) then I will probably just sell to the people in Bradford.’
One resident of Farrant Street said parking had been awkward in the past when auctions were held at the church, but felt the suggestion was an ‘insult to people’s intelligence’.
Another said: ‘It would have been better to invite residents for a cup of tea rather than try to force them into submission. One resident was too upset to sleep after getting that letter.’
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