FINAL plans for a major open-to-all Islamic community hall in Blackburn are due to get the go-ahead next week.
The 1,500 sq ft building at the Naqshbandiyya Aslamiyya Spi-ritual Centre in Queen’s Park is now set to be constructed next year.
The £1 million purpose-built hall with underground car parking will occupy vacant land on the corner of Pringle Street and Whitendale Crescent provided it gets approval from Blackburn with Darwen plan-ning committee next week.
Extensions to the existing centre have already been given permission by planners and next week’s decision is the final piece of the jigsaw to cater for growing numbers of worshippers at the mosque and for the wider community.
The new building is at the rear of the existing centre and will provide a space for quiet ref-lection, prayer and mediation. The centre also hope to provide wider services to the borough in terms of work with young people, young offenders and disability groups.
The new hall will also be used in the annual march organised by the centre for the Milaad celebration Prophet Mohammed’s life.
Adeel Khatana, from agents Xpert Planning of Beechwood Court in Blackburn, said: “This is not just an Islamic centre.
“It will be open for all people in the local community to come in. It will be a place where everyone can enjoy peace, meditation, reflection and prayer from whatever religion they come from.
“Local people will also be able to come here and learn about Islam. It’s not about converting anyone. We hope that we will be able to organise other activities with the local community working with young people, young parents, young offenders and the disabled.”
There will also be morning prayers and Islamic group study at the new hall as well as the annual Milaad celebration, attended by hundreds, which is now held in a Marquee in the grounds.
Council planning officials have recommended approval for the proposals but, although no objections have been received, have referred it to the comm-ittee for final decision because it is “of a sensitive nature”.
The building will include energy-saving solar panels and parking spaces for 22 cars, including four for disabled motorists, eight motorbikes, and four bicycles.