A PARKING row has broken out between frustrated residents and Muslims visiting a temporary mosque.

Councillors are concerned about racial tensions bubbling over, following complaints about cars blocking Clay Hill Road, Basildon, and spilling out on to the path.

Up to 60 people visit Kingswood Play Centre every Friday afternoon for Jumma prayers, with between 40 and 50 Muslims returning on Sunday afternoons for workshops.

Stephen Ward, Ukip councillor for Pitsea South East, has been contacted by angry neighbours, as he lives in the road.

He said: “Residents are fed up.

It’s a nightmare. There is nowhere left for them to park, and they are struggling to get through the road because it is blocked both sides.

“Children can’t see oncoming traffic when they’re crossing the road or even walk down the path. It’s dangerous. It’s an accident waiting to happen.

“The community centre has a car park, but it obviously isn’t big enough. People visiting the mosque have even tried to park in the doctor’s surgery car park, but they’ve been told to stop.

“I’m worried about racial tensions boiling up. Residents have even gone to the police, but have been told there is nothing they can do.”

Kerry Smith, Independence councillor for Nethermayne, said the complaints need to be handled carefully as the venue is being used for religious purposes.

He added: “I have been looking into this issue for the past fewmonths, and have been talking to officers. We‘re looking into a number of options.

“This is a sensitive issue, and we need to be careful about how we deal with it.”

Mohammed Yaqub, from the South Essex Islamic Trust, which rents out the centre for weekly prayers, said he has not been approached by residents.

He said: “The centre has a car park so I wouldn’t say it’s normally a problem. Sometimes if extra people turn up we do have to park on the road because there is nowhere else for the cars to go.

“We were very busy over Ramadam as it is such a special event for us, so parking probably was an issue then.”

Insufficient space for cars is the problem

RESIDENTS claim there is simply not enough parking for people driving to the community centre.

Denver Hussey, 40, of the High Spirits Off Licence, in Clay Hill Road, said the car park behind the row of shops often got blocked up, as did the road.

She said: “There are parking problems in the area. I have had problems parking when I am coming to work in the past.

“The car park behind the shops gets very full and people park just in the turning to the shops here.

“I do think if the council is going to build places such as schools and community centres, it should provide enough parking for the people who use the places.

“I also feel if people are buying a property near a school or community centre, they should consider the parking needed for the people who choose to use those centres.”

Ryan Morgan, 26, of Clay Hill Road, said he had been unaware Kingswood Play Centre was being used as a temporary mosque, but had noticed parking problems were getting worse.

He said: “The community centre car park gets full to the brim, and the cars spill out onto the main road. I’m not sure what the parking issues are down to, but I hope it is sorted soon.”