A MOSQUE will be knocked down and rebuilt in Farnworth.

Councillors unanimously approved the plans put forward by the leaders of Sughra Mosque to demolish the existing one-storey building in Granville Street, their home for the past 40 years.

In its place they intend to build a three-storey place of worship, which will include separate halls for men and women, an IT suite, library, classrooms and two ablution areas for washing.

Mr Anwar represented the mosque at the meeting and said they had sought guidance from planning officers at Bolton Council while putting the plans together.

He added: “This building will mean a significant investment into Farnworth.”

Opponent Bryn Morgan spoke at the meeting to say the aesthetics of the new design were not liked by the local community.

He added: “Why does it have to look as it does — why can it not blend in with the local architecture?”

Since Thursday a petition and Facebook group has been set up in protest against the plans.

But Cllr Nick Peel said the debate surrounding the mosque did not fully understand planning law as laid down by the government, which the council cannot deviate from.

He added: “Anybody can put up an application to build anything they want in this town, which will be decided by planning at Bolton Council. We live in a democracy.

“The council does not put in applications for churches or mosques — people who put them in do so because there is a demand for a place of worship.”

Cllr Bob Allen said the ambition for the mosque to become a Farnworth landmark fitted with the design.

He added: “The appearance of the building is a planning issue and, as a landmark, I have absolutely no problem with this building.

"There is no doubt is stands out and that is what landmarks should do.”