PROPOSALS to provide a new Islamic prayer facility are set to be approved temporarily despite objections.

About 30 worshippers are expected to use the facility in Beardwood Brow, Blackburn, if the application is approved.

Staunch opposition has been voiced against the proposals, with 170 letters of objection received by Blackburn with Darwen Council.

But 56 letters were also received in support of the plan.

Beardwood Muslim Worship Group has applied to convert a detached bungalow in to the meet the needs of the local community.

Planning officers say the proposal would be a low-key facility for the community and therefore consent should be granted.

It is proposed to give permission for two years to allow the facility to be monitored.

Members will decide whether to go along with the recommendation at a planning and highways committee meeting on Thursday.

Objectors say the facility would be inappropriate for the area and detrimental to the residential character.

They claimed it would be harmful to residents due to cars arriving and departing at all times of the day, while an increase in traffic and inadequate parking provision were also of concern.

A report to go before the planning and highways committee states: “An acoustic fence will not stop all noise, therefore, to reduce the impact of the proposed use further, it is considered that the hours of use should be restricted to between 7am and 10pm, no main Friday lunchtime prayer (Juma) should take place and that no externally audible ‘Calls to Prayer’ from the building or within the application site should take place at any time.

“These would ensure the amenity of the nearest residents is protected and that the building would be used as a prayer centre and not a mosque as feared by some local local residents.

“A large number of concerns have been expressed that the prayer room use is considered to be inappropriate in this location given its suburban nature.

“It is acknowledged that there are no other uses in the locality other than residential and the change to a prayer centre will result in a change of character to this property by the increase in the number of people attending the premises both on foot and by car.

“However, it is considered the conditions proposed restricting the opening hours, preventing the Juma, Friday prayer, preventing external calls for prayer, requiring acoustic barriers, and ensuring the boundary hedge is retained would ensure that this prayer centre operates as a low key facility for the local community thereby ensuring that there would not be demonstrable harm to residential nature of the area and accordingly the requirements of local plan policy.”

The planning committee meets at 6.30pm on Thursday.