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Old NatWest bank in Sutton Road in Maidstone ‘will not be a mosque’ says new owner

A religious leader plans to convert a disused bank into a centre for worship but an error has led to opposition.

Christy Idahosa said the details submitted with her planning application for the old NatWest bank in Sutton Road, Maidstone, initially were wrong.

Christy Idahosa: "I am a Christian lady"
Christy Idahosa: "I am a Christian lady"

The application has received 40 comments from the public, mostly in favour. But of those objecting, half a dozen did so in the belief the building was to become a mosque because the plans had shown separate men’s and women’s prayer rooms.

But Mrs Idahosa said an error had been made by her planning agent, and that new plans had now been submitted.

She said: “I hope to clear up any confusion.

“I intend that the building will serve as a versatile community centre, supporting local residents in numerous ways.

“It will host a variety of activities including a children’s sensory room, local charity events, youth entertainment, a worship centre, free morning tea and coffee, a radio/TV station, and more.”

The former NatWest Bank in Sutton Road, Maidstone
The former NatWest Bank in Sutton Road, Maidstone

“Additionally, the centre will provide mental health support, activities for the elderly and vulnerable people, and will also be a place for prayer, therapy, and counselling—a safe haven where community members can find peace and solutions to their problems.

She said: “This is a Christian-driven project aimed at benefiting the community on multiple levels.

“We will host a prayer resort which uplifts the broken, brings people to Christ, and takes people from weakness to strength, allowing them to take cognisance and charge over things troubling their lives.”

Mrs Idahosa said: “As a Maidstone resident of about a decade, a mother, author, minister, and former care worker, I deeply understand the importance of such a community hub.

“My mission is to give back and provide support to the less privileged, vulnerable people, and those struggling with mental health issues. I am confident that this building will significantly benefit the community.”

Let me be clear. It will not be a mosque.

She said: “I bought this property with my own money for the genuine purpose of supporting my community as God has directed me, which I think is the right thing to do.”

She said: “Let me be clear: the former NatWest bank, will not be a mosque.

“I am a Christian lady, so I have no intention of building a mosque or Muslim school. There was never a plan for it to be a mosque, contrary to the circulating rumours.”

Mrs Idahosa said the building had been subjected to vandalism, including having windows broken, being spray-painted with graffiti, and having excrement thrown at the property.

The NatWest branch in Sutton Road, Maidstone
The NatWest branch in Sutton Road, Maidstone

She said: “This kind of behaviour is harmful and detrimental to the entire community.

“It is my hope that we can move past these actions, leaving behind such destructive attitudes and focus on the positive impact that this community centre will bring.”

Mrs Idahose’s planning application has yet to be decided upon by Maidstone council.

Details of it can be seen on the council’s website under reference number 24/501815.

Find out about planning applications that affect you at the Public Notice Portal.

Mrs Idahosa is the founder of the Triumph of Grace organisation where she is known as a Prophetess.

As well as running the Triumph of Grace Ministries, she runs TGM Gospel Radio and The Melody Foundation. She has an BA, MA and a PhD.

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