PART of a Blackburn mosque will be knocked down to make way for a new extension.

Plans submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council proposing to partially demolish Masjid-e-Rizwan Mosque in Newton Street, which has served the community for more than 40 years, have been given the green light by borough planners.

The centre plans to carry out a 575sq m extension to provide ladies and men’s worshipping floorspace, as well as better washing facilities, funeral preparation facilities, a library, IT room, storage space and an office.

The community hall element of the development will remain unchanged.

There are no changes proposed in terms of the operating hours and nor are there any changes proposed to the number of staff members being employed at the premises.

Dozens of letters were received in support of the development, with just two objections raised.

They cited concerns over parking, littering and the size of the new extension.

But planning officer Rebecca Halliwell decided in favour of the application.

She said: “The supporting information acknowledges that the proposal does not provide any onsite parking.

“It goes on to further state the current worshippers and students currently make use of the on-street parking provision within the area and that the site is well suited to take advantage of sustainable travel modes and it is not envisaged that the additions sought would materially alter the current situation.

“It further states that there is currently an informal car sharing arrangement for visitors to the mosque.”

In a planning statement submitted with the application, a spokesman for Kokni Muslim Association said: “Whilst it is acknowledged that the size of the building would increase somewhat, this is to enable an internal reconfiguration and provide better circulation and enhanced space per user. Masjid-E-Rizwan serves and draws it congregation from a particular section of the Muslim community.

“As such, it is not considered that there will be a material difference in the number of people attending the premises at any one time.

“The much-needed proposal will provide enhanced facilities for the local community while not bringing about any adverse impacts in terms of amenity, design or highways concerns.”