AN APPLICATION for an Islamic prayer centre that had already been operating without permission at Guildford for more than two years was approved by Parramatta Council this week.
The application, lodged by Wagih Hawshar, asked for approval for part of the building located in a primarily industrial area on McArthur Street to be used as a place of worship.
It said the centre would be visited by at most, 130 people at a time and would use a vacant lot across the road as a car park with 78 spots.
Cr Paul Garrard spoke against the proposal at the council meeting on Monday and said the majority of the residents opposed the development because of a shortage of parking in the area and providing the car park across the street would not be enough.
"It is an industrial area, but it is very close to residential areas and there isn't enough parking for a facility like this," Cr Garrard said.
"People are not going to walk 150 metres, they will just park out front in the street, as close as they can."
Cr Tony Issa, who voted in support of the application said it was important to allow all faiths to worship in the area.
"The problem here was parking and it was important that it was solved and it has been with this application," Cr Issa said.
"It's an industrial area and they've provided a car park, so the community has nothing to worry about."
Cr Garrard said if the matter were in parliament's jurisdiction it would inevitably be subject of a royal commission.
"This applicant has gotten away with the unauthorised use of these premises for nearly three years," Cr Garrard said.
Cr Garrard said Cr Issa had been working on behalf of the applicant.
Cr Issa said he was not and he judged every application on its merits and said the applicant was not doing anything that others didn't do.
"Everyone keeps operating while they wait for their application to be approved," Cr Issa said.
He said the building evolved into a prayer centre over time.
When contacted by the Sun Mr Hawshar said he did not want to comment on the application.