Oswestry split over plan for Muslim prayer centre

Plans for a Muslim prayer centre at a former church in Oswestry have split the town, new documents show.

So far 34 people have contacted Shropshire Council in support of the plans by Oswestry Muslim Society while 26 people have objected.

The British National Party has urged the public to reject the plans which would see the 19th century former Presbyterian Church on Oswald Road converted into the prayer centre. BNP leaders say more than 2,000 leaflets have been put through Oswestry letterboxes opposing the scheme.

North Shropshire organiser Phil Reddall said the leaflet drop was a step in the party’s campaign against the plans and said further activity was likely before Shropshire Council makes a decision on the plans.

“Many people might not agree with us but all we are trying to do is raise awareness of what is going on,” he said.

Supporters say the plans would give Muslims a place of worship.

Supporter Andrew Ward said: “It’s about time that the Muslims of Oswestry and the surrounding area had a place of their own to meet.”

Members of Oswestry Muslim Society have already raised about £70,000 towards the cost of the project.

The overall cost could be more than £250,000.

The project, if it wins planning approval from the council, would end a 10-year wait by members of the society to find their own home.

At the moment the society’s estimated 70 members meet at Eastern Oswestry Community Centre for prayers every Friday afternoon.

Shropshire Council hopes to determine whether or not to allow the application by January 11.