Hundreds of people are calling for a cycle lane to be repainted to allow Muslims to park on it in the evening when they head for prayers in a mosque.

Worshippers at Faizan-e-Islam in Lea Bridge Road, Walthamstow have won the support of Waltham Forest Citizens, which is made up of 11 organisations, for their ‘Parking for Prayers’ campaign.

They are calling for a meeting with Waltham Forest Council to discuss if changing the use of the lane to allow bikes during the day and parking in the evenings could work.

At a demonstration outside the mosque on Friday (December 1) 300 members of the campaigning group joined Muslims calling for change.

Iftakhar Latif, leader of Faizan-e-Islam, said: “We have over 100 people attending prayers every night and over 1,000 people during the month of Ramadan in the two mosques on Lea Bridge Road.

“When the cycle lanes are not being used at night, we request that the community can use them to be able to access the mosques to perform their prayers.”

Demonstrators coloured in the path using chalk and held placards with slogans such as ‘Cycling by Day, Prayers by Night’, ‘A Quicker Way to Pray’ and ‘Lanes for All’.

Revd Andy Trenier, rector of Chingford Parish has leant his support to mosque’s campaign.

He said: “It is really encouraging that many people from local mosques want to find sustainable ways to come to prayers.

“Yet, with so many thousands of congregants and no possibility of parking nearby, this seems ripe for a more nuanced solution. 

“I think it is really important to affirm our common desire to discourage casual car use but also recognise that realistic access to places of worship is really important too.”

A spokesman for Waltham Forest Citizens said they hope a meeting with councillors will lead to a solution that “seeks to protect safe and sustainable journeys and takes into account the concerns of the local Muslim community”.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest Council Deputy Leader and cabinet member for environment stressed bike lanes would not be altered to allow vehicles for safety reasons. 

"We are always happy to discuss our borough’s transport requirements but public safety will always be our prime concern and it is specifically for the safety of all road users that cycle tracks can only be used by people on bikes,” he said.

“The fully segregated cycle track on Lea Bridge Rd has been four years in the planning with extensive consultation and engagement having taken place almost two years ago.

“Additionally, I would also like to point out that when planning permission was sought for the mosque on Lea Bridge Road, the applicants themselves highlighted the excellent public transport services in the area, with their Transport Assessment and Travel Plan also stating the majority of mosque users, being local, would walk to the mosque and that it already has more car parking spaces than required.

“I would have thought that, rather than encouraging more traffic, the mosque and Citizens UK would have been more interested in reducing motor traffic on Lea Bridge Road, to help improve air quality levels.”