A PETITION has been handed to Blackburn with Darwen Council over plans to convert a former pub into a mosque.

The Little Harwood Inn, in Whalley Old Road, Blackburn, was a Thwaites Brewery pub until it closed and it has lain empty for several years since then.

In that time, Blackburn-based applicant and Islamic organisation Dawat-e-Islami, said the pub has fallen into a state of severe disrepair and is plagued by anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.

But 23 people who live nearby the proposed mosque have signed the petition, claiming it is not needed because there are five others in close proximity to the former pub.

Fears have also been raised about increased traffic, parking issues, as well as loss of privacy

The petition states: “The traffic on Whalley Old Road is already congested with traffic from mosques and schools.

“Parking on Whalley Old Road and side streets in Little Harwood is a nightmare and to have a mosque on a main road will cause further issues for nearby residents.

“If cars are parked on both sides of Whalley Old Road, this will be a major concern.

“We also fear for the safety of children who will be walking to school or their local mosque.

“Residents of Wareham Street strongly believe planning permission will lead to the building overlooking their property and therefore a loss of privacy.”

Under the bid, the building would be used as a mosque and education centre for daily prayers and evening educational classes for children.

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Agent Khalid Khan, of Blackburn-based Khalid Khan & Associates, said the plans would bring a dilapidated building back into use.

Mr Khan said that work to renovate the building would amount to an investment of £150,000.

Subject to planning permission, he hopes that work on the building could start in September with the mosque opening early next year.