Marmion Road Mosque


On behalf of the committee and many members of the Jami Mosque we are writing a
letter of support for the referenced planning application.

73-75 Marmion road was the first mosque in Portsmouth and was called the Jami
mosque. Around 2000/1, because of population growth in Muslim community, the
Jami mosque was moved from Marmion Road to Victoria Road North and from then
73-75 Marmion Road was utilised as reclassified as a Madrasa (Islamic school).

Throughout this entire period, the Jami mosque was, as still is, responsible for the
management of 73-75 Marmion Road.

Before 2000 the only mosque in Portsmouth was the Jami mosque in Marmion
Road. Since then, eight more mosque’s and Islamic teaching schools have opened
in Portsmouth namely: Central Mosque, Muslim Academy, North End Islamic Centre,
Masjid Al Noor, Madani Islamic Academy (school), Al Ashraf Islamic centre and
South coast Anatolian educational centre. More mosques and Islamic centres have
opened in the areas surrounding Portsmouth.

Accordingly, attendances at Marmion road dwindled to the point where the other
schools have rendered Marmion Road redundant.

The mosque committee and members have made careful considerations over
several years trying to find the best use of 73-75 Marmion Road following the move
to Victoria Road North. This includes many of the concerns raised by those in
opposition to the planning.

Marmion Road being part of a charitable organisation dependant on donations from
student attendance and the decline in student numbers has resulted in financial
difficulties for the mosque.

The committee came to the decision to seek approval for the first floor to be
converted into flats for several different reasons but chiefly to provide an income
stream. The property is currently in a state of disrepair and deteriorating rapidly;
requires significant capital outlay to renovate the entire property and bring it to
habitable condition.

This sum of money is considerable and realistically not attainable through
fundraising alone. Furthermore, having a regular stream of income will allow the
mosque to be self-sustainable, without having to be so heavily dependent on
charitable donations which could be channelled to better use.

The ground floor will continue to be used for prayers and Islamic teaching and
hosting community events without being constrained by finances.
Furthermore, community groups or individuals will be able use the facilities with the
Mosque being flexible in charging fees.

It should be noted, that much of the opposition is based on a misunderstanding of
the facts leading to a petition that has been circulated widely.

One of the incorrect views held by some of our community that the mosque is being
to be closed. This is mistaken. The plans submitted demonstrate that the alterations
proposed are mainly to the first floor leaving the ground floor still in use after being
refurbished. Within the committee, our primary goal was to retain the building as a
place of prayer and community space for the Muslim community. With the plans that
have been submitted, we have successfully achieved this goal by retaining and
renovating the ground floor facilities and courtyard.

Another misunderstanding is that an external party or in some cases even the
council is looking to undertake these plans for personal gain rather than for
community use. This in and of itself would understandably cause grievances
amongst members of our community and is untrue. Many are not aware, that it is in
fact the Portsmouth Jami Mosque that has proposed these plans for the benefit of
the local Muslim community.

The committee is currently making every effort in providing the facts of this situation
throughout our community. We have often found that once the full situation is
explained, the overwhelming support is in favour of our application; including those
who signed the petition under false pretences. We do not wish to directly counter the
petition that has already been made, as this would be a painfully divisive course of
action for our community.

We hope that with the information provided in this letter, the council is able to
recognise that the committee is acting with the best interest of the Muslim community
in mind.

Should anyone have any questions, please contact the Jami Mosque.

Portsmouth Jami Mosque