House is to be turned into Islamic centre

A HOUSE will be converted into an Islamic prayer facility — despite objections by Bolton’s biggest social landlord.

Bolton Council’s planning committee approved proposals by Great Lever Welfare Youth Trust to convert a house in Paulham Street, Harper Green, and build an extension to establish a community education and resource centre.

The facility will have two full-time staff and four part-time employees and has permission to open between 4am and midnight to reflect Islamic prayer times.

A report to the council said on average it was not expected there would be more than “three or four” people using it for dawn prayer, and 10 for evening prayer.

Objections had been received on the grounds of car parking issues, and Bolton at Home — which owns a neighbouring property along with 18,000 other homes in the borough — also objected, on the grounds the plans would “unduly impact on future occupiers” of its property.

But the plans were approved by planning chiefs.

Planning committee member Cllr Bob Allen said the issues raised were similar to those last year over a controversial proposal in Devonshire Road, Heaton.

He said: “People were concerned that morning prayer would cause them all manner of problems, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. They have more problems during the day when community events clash with school pick-up times.”

Deputy chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Hanif Darvesh, said: “This is a very small community facility. People won’t go in their cars to this very small facility — this is for the immediate locality.”

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