Muslim centre plan for empty Oswestry building
Plans for a new place of worship for Oswestry would bring an empty building back into public use, councillors will be told.
A planning application has been made to convert the Citadel premises in King Street into a Muslim Centre.
Details of the application by Mr Zacharia Chowdhury have been submitted to Oswestry Town Council's planning and development committee.
The property was built for the Salvation Army in 1888 and used by the organisation up until the early 1980s.
It then lay empty until, in 1998 a change of use was granted and was purchased by J&I Carpets and Blinds.
A report as part of the planning application said that the carpets and blinds business remained at the site until 2013 when as part of an expansion it moved to a different property in the town.
"The premises have remained unoccupied since that time with numerous prospective purchasers unable to complete," the reports says.
Planning approval was granted for change of use into a cinema in 2017 but the project failed to go ahead.
Sitting with in the Oswestry Conservation area, the Citadel is described as an imposing building frontage retaining its imposing ornate brick fenestration facade popular in the Victorian period.
Town councillors - who cannot determine the application but can, if they wish, make comment - were told that there will be no external noise calling the congregation to prayer.
"Prayers will be held five times a day in accordance with the Muslim calendar. Twice a year, early morning prayers are held, one for the festival of Eid-ul-Adah and the other for the festival of Eid-Ul-Fitre"
In addition, once a year Ramadam is celebrated at midnight and the centre will at undetermined times of the year be used to hold community meetings and social gatherings.
The report for the applicant says: "The proposed change of use will bring the vacant building back into community use and enable the retention of the visual character of the building. The building has relevance as a heritage asset and sits well within the character of the traditional buildings in King Street.
"This application will ensure the retention and enhancement of the building within the Conservation Area is maintained and retained for community and generations of the future."
Shropshire Conservation Officer, Ruth Hitchin, said: "A new viable use will provide some enhancement to the area in general. In considering this application special attention has been paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area."
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