Plans approved for more prayer spaces at Preston mosque

The mosque on Watling Street Road, Preston

The mosque on Watling Street Road, Preston

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Plans to increase the number of prayer spaces in a city mosque have been given the go-ahead.

Preston Muslim Society applied to vary conditions attached to plans for the mosque in Watling Street Road, replacing teaching rooms with extra prayer halls and increasing the capacity from 145 to 315 prayer spaces.

Fears were raised about increased traffic, but councillors agreed to the plans 11 to one.

Agent Alban Cassidy, of Cassidy + Ashton, told the meeting his client owned the community centre opposite the mosque, where a madrassa was now proposed to be located, rather than within the mosque.

He said: “It’s therefore logical the space in the mosque is available when necessary for additional prayer facilities.”

Mr Cassidy said he didn’t expect the mosque to be full regularly, and said the extra space would allow women to visit the mosque and have a dedicated place for prayer.

He also said a pedestrian crossing was to be provided.

He said: “It provides breathing space, it means the building will not be congested on key days of the Eid festival and key times. What we are proposing now is far beyond the parking requirement for a development of this scale.”

Coun Harry Seddon raised concerns about parking, and said: “It would result in a further increase in traffic on Watling Street Road.”

Coun David Hammond said: “I don’t think the parking problem has been solved, I think it’s been made worse.”

Chairman Coun Brian Rollo said: “The parking density has gone down from 3.1 worshippers per parking space to 2.8.

“The problem that will remain will be an increase in vehicles travelling along Watling Street Road, and the highway authority has no objection to that.”