Trocadero: Piccadilly mosque plans that received racist comments withdrawn

How the mosque interior could look Image copyright Nick Dines, MD Concilio
Image caption Planners were expecting to make a decision on the mosque development later this month

Plans to convert part of the Trocadero building at London’s Piccadilly Circus into a mosque which received thousands of racist comments have been withdrawn.

The Aziz Foundation, an Islamic education charity, submitted plans in February to turn two basement floors into a mosque for 1,000 worshippers.

Westminster City Council received 6,100 comments in support and 2,800 objecting, a high volume were “racist”.

The Aziz Foundation has been contacted for comment about pulling the plans.

Far-right group Britain First had organised a petition against the proposals.

When the plans were submitted, the Islamic education charity said a mosque would help provide prayer space in a location where there was “a significant shortfall in places of worship”.

‘Utterly repellent’

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reports that local politicians have been critical of the high volume of objections that were “racist”.

Conservative councillor Matthew Green, cabinet member for business and planning, said: “We find these racist, hateful comments utterly repellent and will always move to ensure that they are taken down as quickly as possible.”

He added some comments had been shared with the Met Police.

Previously, Labour councillor Hamza Taouzzale said: “Some of the comments that I’ve unfortunately had to read through were horrible, they really were. They were racist, they weren’t aligned with any of our views.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Trocadero in London’s West End has been derelict since 2006

The Trocadero was originally built as a restaurant in 1896 and turned into an exhibition centre and entertainment space in the 1980s.

The upper floors now house a 740-bedroom hotel with a rooftop bar.

The underground floors of the Grade II-listed building were last used as a cinema until 2006. Permission had already been granted to use it as a community and arts centre.

The Aziz Foundation was founded by Asif Aziz, a businessman and philanthropist who was born in Malawi and grew up in Wandsworth.

He is the founder and chief executive of real estate firm Criterion Capital, which bought the Trocadero and Piccadilly Hotel for £225m in 2005.