Shrewsbury Muslim prayer centre plans approved

Shrewsbury's first dedicated Muslim prayer centre has received the blessing of councillors – marking the end of a decade-long search by worshippers for suitable facilities.

Column Lodge in Preston Street, Shrewsbury
Column Lodge in Preston Street, Shrewsbury

Controversial plans to transform Column Lodge in Preston Street into a place of worship and day care centre have been approved by members of Shropshire Council's central planning committee.

It comes despite the proposals for the former register office dividing public opinion, which has seen more than 500 letters sent to the authority and members of the English Defence League protesting outside the planned centre.

The decision was made at a packed committee meeting at Shirehall in Shrewsbury yesterday. Members of the Shropshire Bangladeshi Welfare Society today said the planning committee's approval marked the end of a decade-long wait.

The society has been meeting at United Reformed Church on English Bridge for the last 10 years.

Trustee Martin Kabir said: "We are very pleased and we would like to thank everyone who has supported the application.

"We have waited nearly 10 years for a suitable building. This is a democracy and people have a right to object, but we would like to work with those people." George Miah, society chairman, said: "We will work with the local community and neighbours and want to invite everyone to the opening.

"We are deeply, deeply indebted to everyone who has supported us."

More than 60 people were present at the meeting to hear the decision. Local resident Sue Challis won a round of applause after she spoke in support of the application.

She said: "I believe this application represents a continuation of the cultural identity of the area not a break and I see no reason not to approve it."

The new centre will be open from 4am until 11pm during the summer months and 7am to 7pm during the winter months..

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