By LDRS Reporter Owen Sheppard
Part of the old Trocadero entertainment complex by Piccadilly Circus could become a mosque for 1,000 worshippers.
The proposed mosque would be housed in the grade II-listed building’s two underground levels, which were used as a cinema until 2006.
A planning application for the mosque was submitted in February by an Islamic education charity, The Aziz Foundation.
As of May 20, more than 830 people had written to object or voice support for the plans.
The Trocadero opened in the 1890s as a restaurant. And in the years after its relaunch in 1984, it boasted a Pepsi IMAX, Nickelodeon studios, a SegaWorld arcade, and a Pepsi Max free-fall drop ride.
The Aziz Foundation said in its planning application: “There is currently a significant shortfall in the amount of prayer space for Muslims living and working in the West End. The proposed mosque on Rupert Street in the basement of the Trocadero Theatre is vital in meeting this demand in the area.
“The proposals would include a refurbishment of the existing basement floor to provide a 1,000-person capacity mosque in the heart of the West End.
“The proposals have the potential to bring back into use this vacant part of the site for much-needed community use, providing prayer space, interfaith meetings, rentable space, and language classes, amongst other uses.”
The Aziz foundation was founded by Asif Aziz, a businessman and philanthropist who was born in Malawi and grew up in Wandsworth.
Mr Aziz is also the founder and chief executive of real estate firm Criterion Capital, which bought the Trocadero and turned the building’s upper floors into a 700-bed hotel that opened earlier this year.
The company also owns the Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square and the Burberry Building in Knightsbridge.
The planning application is currently being considered by Westminster Council.