One of Blackburn’s largest and oldest Mosques has applied for a major extension to improve facilities at its school for young Muslims.

The Jaame Masjid in Cumberland Street wants to put up a new three storey building, a third-storey on an existing one, alter its entrance minarets and provide a bridge walkway from the upper car park to the first floor of the school.

Started in 1962, the mosque had a major extension in 1995 and another in 1998.

It now wants to improve facilities for the 405 students in its madrasa or religious school which provides evening, weekend and holiday classes for youngsters in Islamic teachings. There will be 16 new classrooms and a new library.

It has submitted a planning application for the improvements and extension to Blackburn with Darwen council.

The document says: “The current facilities do not do justice to the aims of the mosque and the committee wish to create a purpose-built madrasa extension for the existing students.

“The proposed extension will particularly improve the facilities available to female students.

“A landscape scheme also forms part of this application, allowing the committee to achieve a centre which presents itself well to the community at large.

“The madrasa hopes to provide improved services and facilities to its existing users. A new, refurbished setting for the centre will allow it to fulfil its potential in serving the locality and increase the benefits it can provide.

“The centre aspires to be a thriving hub of activity that is inclusive, safe, and environmentally sensitive. The mosque committee wish that their students work from a building that is well laid out and furnished so as to instil a sense of pride in its users and is well connected and open to the local community.

“The centre will be able to provide improved education, and skills provision, also the mosque aims to educate its students on working towards removing cultural barriers in the locality.

“The centre also hopes to provide a varied programme of cultural facilities and a multi functional community space accessible to all that will be free once the madrasa moves to its new facilities.”