Despite the lack of public support to the recent plans for a mosque in nearby Oswestry, it is now being reported that a former church in Shrewsbury will soon be registered as the town's first Muslim 'prayer centre'.
Shropshire Council has sold Column Lodge, which was a church and then a register office, to the Shropshire Bangladesh Welfare Society in a £215,000 deal – this figure is well below the immediate area’s average of £255,970.
Martin Kabir, a trustee of the Shropshire Bangladesh Welfare Society, this week said the building would become a Muslim prayer centre and community room, and it would be open to all members of the public.
He said: “The building was a place of worship years ago.
“It will become a facility for Muslim prayer and a day care centre. It is a first for Shrewsbury and everyone will be welcome.
“We have been looking for somewhere for a long time and this is close to the outskirts of town and easy to access.”
A statement in support of the planning application said that at peak times on a Friday afternoon there could be up to 50 visitors. The building will be used as a place of worship between 4am and 11pm Monday to Sunday.
Steph Jackson, Shropshire Council’s head of customer support and assets, said: “The council has agreed the sale of the building to the Shropshire Bangladesh Welfare Society, and as part of the sale process it has submitted an application to change its use.
“The sale will help the council to raise much-needed capital, plus save on day-to-day running costs.”
People have until May 21 to comment on the proposals.
Cllr Phil Reddall, BNP, said "Shropshire BNP demands that all planning decisions in cases such as these are made by elected councillors at an open meeting. Last time (Oswestry) they allowed unelected planning officers to decide - make sure you demand that the councillors make the decision on this application."