A new mosque in Preston city centre has finally got the go-ahead after a three-year struggle for planning permission.
Leaders of the Preston Muslim Cultural Centre say they are “delighted” that councillors have approved a scaled-down application at the junction of Fishergate Hill and Grafton Street.
The original plans were refused in 2011 because the proposed development was too big and too close to houses. It also failed on appeal.
But after reducing the building’s size and repositioning it further away from neighbouring properties, PMCC leaders have now been told they are free to go ahead with a replacement for their place of worship to serve the Broadgate area.
In a statement the group said: “The trustees and executive committee are delighted by the decision.
“Over the past 36 months they have worked tirelessly consulting with planning experts and wider stakeholders including neighbours, councillors and representatives from other faith groups.
“Established in 1984 the PMCC has sought to play a key role at the heart of the Broadgate community providing key services for Muslims in the locality. They have established strong relationships with the local church, schools and other faith and neighbourhood groups.
“We remain confident the relocation to a new enlarged facility will help us build on these achievements and provide better facilities for all.”
As members of the city’s planning committee approved the re-submitted application, cheering and applause rang out in the public seating area. Coun John Browne said: “I am delighted that this has been set up. I know there have been various arguments over it and I am really pleased that at last it is coming into being.”
Chairman Coun Brian Rollo added: “We were probably right to refuse the last application and that was supported by the inspector.
“It has been a very successful negotiation between the agent, the applicant and planning officers to come up with a solution that will be beneficial to the area.”
The Preston Muslim Cultural Centre already operates out of an existing building on Fishergate Hill and the new plan involves the contruction of a two-storey building behind that on land in Grafton Street which has stood vacant since a fire 10 years ago destroyed the premises of a roofing company.
The project will involve the demolition of a former stable building.