THE Ribble Valley's Muslim community could soon get its first mosque.

Members of the community have submitted an application to Ribble Valley Council to buy the council's Peel Street car park in Clitheroe

For several years now the town's Asian community has wanted somewhere in the town for their worship as most have to travel to Blackburn or Accrington.

They submitted a planning application to build a single-storey on to an end terrace at 26 Holden Street, which is currently an Islamic education centre.

However, the application was rejected unanimously in 1998 by the council following numerous objections from nearly residents, including one Asian family, on the grounds that it would 'unneighbourly.'

The community decided to appeal against the decision to the Secretary of State but withdrew its application before the hearing.

Now, a representative for the Muslim community, architect Khalid Khan, of Blackburn, has asked the council to look at the possibility of the Muslim community purchasing the 20-space long-stay car park for a potential site for a mosque.

The site generates an average of £800 per year in charges for the authority.

The council recognises the capital gain it would make if it sold the site to the Muslims though it could well be less than market value. "Normally when selling land the council has a duty to get the best price that can reasonably be obtained.

"However, the Secretary of State has issued a general disposal consent which allows land to be sold for the provision of a place of worship at less than best price," said director of legal services Paul Timson.

If the council accepts the offer and the plans are subsequently passed by the planning and development committee, the proposed new centre could then replace the Islamic Education Centre in Holden Street, which in turn would likely revert to residential use.

In a letter to the council in February, following the council's chief executive David Morris' meeting with the Islamic centre trustees, Mr Khan asked the policy and finance committee to consider the proposal put forward for a 'multi-purpose mosque and Islamic centre which will serve not only the present, but the future generation of Muslims residing in Clitheroe.'

The committee is to discuss the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday evening.