A "LANDMARK" pub which closed in 2016 is set to be knocked down to make way for a new Islamic centre.

The local mosque which purchased the Brierfield pub in Blackburn Road nearly four years ago has now been granted permission to demolish it.

The derelict building is set to be flattened to make way for a new development by the Masjid-e-Salaam Trust – but specific details about the future facility are yet to be revealed.

A total of 152 letters of objection have been sent to the council with some raising concerns about the loss of a "historic" building which "adds character" to the area.

Margaret Birch spoke on behalf of residents opposing the application at a town hall meeting yesterday.

She said: "The Brierfield was built over 100 years ago and has been a landmark building in the area of Astley Bridge ever since. It is definitely part of the history of the local area. Unfortunately, since it closed in 2016, it has become an absolute blot on the landscape and has been allowed deteriorate to such an extent it is now said to be only fit for demolition."

The Holden Mill resident urged the committee to vote against demolition but asked councillors to ensure that, should it go ahead, whatever replaces it is in-keeping with area.

Mohammed Patel, secretary of the Masjid-e-Salaam Trust, said the building is beyond repair and a hotspot for anti-social behaviour.

He told the committee that the trust had originally intended to retain some of the building but that option is no longer financially viable due to repeated theft and vandalism.

Mr Patel promised that the trust would engage with residents as it prepares to submit full plans for the new development which he said will offer facilities for wider community use irrespective of faith.

He said: “Our community has a strong desire to continue playing a greater role in the Bolton family. The trust will ensure the needs of the wider community are taken into consideration and the future use is one that all the community can be proud of. The site has been derelict for several years. Demolition of the existing structure and step towards redevelopment of the site will come as welcome news to both the local authority and local residents."

The planning committee approved the application to knock down the building despite attempts to stall the demolition until the trust reveals further details its future plans.

However, councillors were advised by the town hall's legal expert that they were only voting on the demolition, not what would replace it, so an appeal would likely follow refusal.

Speaking after the meeting, a Masjid-e-Salaam trust spokesman said: "We are pleased that steps can now be taken to remove the derelict building.

"We took the opportunity to meet with some of the members of the community that attended the meeting at the town hall, to reassure them that we wish to engage with them regarding our future plans.

"A more detailed meeting will be arranged soon so that we can share details of our plans."