Preston Muslim Society is celebrating double delight as development bids passed the city’s planning committee.
Modifications to the Mosque on Watling Street Road in Fulwood and changes to a new education facility on Clarendon Street were both given the green light by councillors.
The Masjid e Salaam Mosque changes will see teaching rooms replaced with overflow prayer halls.
It will increase the capacity for worshippers to 315 from 145 but councillors were told the facility would rarely operate at full capacity.
Officers told the committee that fears about parking issues would be allayed by an extra 59 spaces being made available at the Watling Street Road community centre, directly opposite the Mosque.
This would improve the parking ratio per person compared with the current operation, they added, bringing the total number of spaces to 113.
Speaking on behalf of the applicants, development agent Alban Cassidy said: “This is a scheme to allow greater use of the Mosque but overall, over a week, a less intensive use.
“The figure of 315, that allows the Mosque to be used at full potential at times of festivals but it won’t be the case that is the numbers week in, week out.”
The planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the development.
Coun David Borrow said: “I can remember when the original application was put in in about 1996, the big fear at the time was about parking. I only live a short distance away, most worshippers walk. The development of the Mosque has led to a change in the population because most worshippers want to walk to their place of worship.
“That problem with parking hasn’t arisen. The number of worshippers has increased, a lot of the fears of 20 years ago have not come to fruition.
“I do think it’s an outstanding building.”
The second application paves the way for a new educational facility than the one currently used by the Jamea Academy on Clarendon Street.
An original bid was given the green light in 2016 but changes have been made to designs such as different ceiling heights.
The facility adjoins an existing Mosque and the development was supported by nearby St Augustine’s Primary School.
It will be a four storey site, catering for four to 14-year-olds with classrooms, offices, kitchens and shoe rooms.
Councillors were told a one way route would be in operation around the building with academy staff acting as parking marshals at peak periods.
The bid was passed with 11 members voting for and one abstention.