A HUGE new mosque is planned for Bolton.
Developers have submitted plans to Bolton Council for the building in Blackburn Road, Astley Bridge.
A plot of land just off Canning Street has been earmarked for a mosque, complete with a dome, minaret tower and 19 classrooms.
Those behind the proposals say the new building will bridge the gap between “negative perceptions” of Islam and the faith’s true meaning.
Taiyabah Islamic Centre — which already owns premises next to the site — is behind the scheme.
Artist’s impressions for the landmark building have been released as part of the planning application.
The development will cater for more than 1,000 prayer mats in the mosque building.
A madrasah facility — an Islamic educational centre — will contain 19 classrooms and there would be an on-site car park with 80 spaces if the plans are approved.
A spokesman for the Taiyabah Mosque said: “Our charity serves one of the oldest mosque communities in Bolton.
"The community is in need of a new facility that meets the day-to-day worship, education and community needs.
“We have been planning for this scheme for a number of years to ensure that the right development was aesthetically pleasing and functional.”
Taiyabah Mosque was established in 1967 and bought the former Congregational Sunday School in Blackburn Road — its current home — in 1988.
In 2009, the mosque bought the neighbouring site with a view to future development.
David Cox, the project’s principal architect, said: “We are particularly proud to be part of a project which explores the nature of faith and community in a positive way.
“An important aspect of the brief provided was that the building should play a part in bridging the gap between the negative perceptions of Islam and the true meaning of Islam.
“We have explored this by arranging the building around a series of courtyard spaces so that the building presents an open and inviting aspect to surrounding streets in a gesture of welcome to passers-by.”
Existing retail units and garages will be demolished to make way for the new building if the plans are approved.
Cllr Guy Harkin, for Crompton, said: “I would be very surprised if there were any grounds for not accepting it.
“Providing there is good parking provision on the site I think it is a straightforward application.
“A lot of the people that go to the existing mosque are from nearby anyway and don’t drive much.”
Cllr Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, who also represents Crompton ward, added: “The community that uses the current facility in Blackburn Road has for many years wished for a purpose-built place of worship.
“This facility would be a fit-for-purpose 21st-century building that would cater for their community aspirations and become a valuable local focal point.
“When the site was acquired a consultation was undertaken to understand the needs of the local Muslim community, who have now become second and third generation residents.
“As a child, I attended the very first Muslim place of worship in the area, which still stands and is now functioning as a children’s nursery.
“This is an exciting project and I look forward to studying the full plans soon.”
The plans were submitted to Bolton Council and will now be assessed by planning officers.
The latest scheme comes weeks after planning permission was granted to a scheme to demolish the Sughra Mosque in Granville Street, Farnworth, and replace it with a new, three-storey place of worship.