A FORMER church could be turned into a new mosque.

Pleckgate Community Centre wants to convert St Chad’s Church, in Pleckgate Road, Blackburn, and replace it with a place of Islamic worship and religious instruction.

The building is vacant having previously been used as a workshop.

The community centre has submitted a planning application to Blackburn with Darwen Council for the change of use and demolition of an outbuilding to provide 15 car parking spaces.

A planning statement said: "The former church building was used for some years as a workshop and for storage, although this was not formalised by a planning permission. It has been vacant for a number of years.

"The proposed mosque would serve the local community by providing facilities for individual and congregational worship.

"The purpose is to provide a more accessible facility for the local community and minimise the need to travel to a larger mosque further away. It would not be used for Friday prayers or for weddings and funerals, nor would there be a resident imam.

"The building is located in a densely-built residential area, on a bus route and within walking distance of many of the people the mosque would serve.

"The building, while not listed or in a conservation area, is distinctive and adds to the character of the area. The application proposal would bring it back into beneficial use and retain it as a community asset.

"The proposals include the demolition of the existing garage at the rear of the church in order to provide appropriate levels of parking."

St Chad’s was a single-storey stone-built building constructed circa 1870.

It later became a day school and also had a Sunday School. It is understood that services continued to be held in the building until the 1970s.

The building has an attached two-storey element formerly used for residential purposes in association with the church.

The application said: "By re-using the existing building it will also retain an important feature of the cultural and historic fabric of the area and prolong the building’s life in a way which references its original function as a hub of community religious worship and learning."