A community has distanced itself from a Facebook group opposing a bid for a Muslim community centre after it was filled with racist and anti-Muslim comments.

English Defence League (EDL) member Peter Lynch set up the group Residents Against Chessington Jamatkhana Community Centre (Mosque) in response to plans to convert a two-storey office by the A3 in the Chessington Industrial Estate into a resource for the Ismaili Muslim community.

Since then, other people have left comments on the group’s message wall ranging from planning questions and complaints about parking to threats of violence, swearing and anti-Muslim statements.

Mr Lynch posted a comment asking people not to leave any racist remarks in the group, telling them such messages were not welcome and would not help the cause.

In another post on the site Ann Crane said: “Cannot stress enough Crofts RA or residents do not want association with nay racial intent...it’s just not a suitable place for this kind of thing.”

Lorraine Rolfe, from Crofts Residents Association, said: “We totally distance ourselves from the EDL. We have got on the Facebook page to keep an eye on what is being said.

“We are very concerned. That’s why we have made it clear the Crofts doesn’t have anything to do with anything on the racial side.”

Jason Shepherd, chairman of the Crofts Residents Association, said: “We are more concerned about the traffic implications and parking.”

Hundreds of people have so far objected to plans to convert the office space in Argent House, Hook Rise South, Hook, into a Jamatkhana Community Centre for the Ismaili Muslim community.

Amin Mawji, the president of the Ismaili Council, said misinformation was to blame for claims a mosque was going to be built.

He said they were “open to be held up against the light”, providing people were willing to be fair.

Mr Mawji said: “That is the one thing it definitely isn’t is a mosque. We don’t want people turning up to pray. It’s like any other community centre, which is not a church or a synagogue.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation. We don’t know where it has come from.”

Mr Mawji said the Facebook campaign and objections had made him feel sad.

He said: "You should go through proper planning processes and we certainly wouldn’t want to build a building if it doesn’t fit into the local community.

"We believe Islam is a peaceful religion and [have] a very strong belief in promoting civic society in the countries we live."

A spokesman for Kingston police said a very small minority of official objections contained anti-Muslim sentiment.

She said: “Kingston is an area proud of its multi-ethnicity and religious tolerance and any written, verbal or physical attacks on any minorities will be pursued by police with the utmost rigour.”

Peter Lynch was not available for comment before going to press.

Councillors on the south of the borough neighbourhood committee will be asked to give their comments at a meeting on Wednesday, March 14, in Chessington Community College.