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Muslim and BNP councillors united

| Saturday, 12 May 2007 Source: Lancashire Telegraph

A MUSLIM and BNP councillor joined forces to oppose plans for a Kashmiri group's headquarters in Pendle.

But Pendle Council's Nelson Committee still granted planning permission this week for offices in Lonsdale Street dedicated to the Pendle Kashmiri Welfare Association.

Meetings and community work by the group, which campaigns for self-government in the Kashmir region, are to be held on the first floor of the Hussain buildings, above a taxi base and poultry store.

The application, for a raised roof and mezzanine floor for storage, had already been approved, but had to be resubmitted after the association became involved, changing the first floor to community use.

Coun Sonia Robinson said Pendle was working with the group to help it achieve its aims, and said the offices were for a good purpose.

But BNP councillor Brian Parker said: "I would like to know what Kashmir has to do with British people - it's a long way away and it has nothing to do with us."

He was supported by Labour's Coun Mohammad Iqbal.

Coun Iqbal said: "It's very, very rare that I agree with Councillor Parker, but this is a divisive application."

But Coun Robinson said the group's funding and the social issues surrounding it were irrelevant to the planning process.

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