Muslim centre plans for Methodist church

Park Road Methodist Church in Chorley

Park Road Methodist Church in Chorley

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A historic former Chorley church is set to become a new Islamic centre.

A deal is close to turn the 170-year-old Park Road Methodist Church into an Islamic awareness and education centre.

It will be launched by the national registered charity Ar-Rahmah, which runs a similar centre on Lyons Lane, where the Chorley Mosque is

situated.

Principal Yasir Nisar explained: “We run an Islamic awareness and education centre on Lyons Lane and it’s going to be an extension of activities there.

“We have a primary school, secondary school and counselling devoted mainly for the youth.

“At the new premises, we’re going to basically expand our activities, so there’s a posiblity we might shift the school into the area.

“We are going to open a facility for community groups and other visitors and raise awareness of the genuine teachings of Islam.

“We will hopefully be providing a facility for community groups, school visits and anyone else interested in understanding Islam.

“We’ve been on the lookout for a suitable place for a couple of years.”

Mr Nisar said he expected a sale to go through in mid-November.

The now disused church closed in 2011 after attendances fell and the building became too costly to maintain.

Chorley Methodist Church superintendent Andrew Mashiter, who was minister at Park Road for several years, confirmed that the organisation at the mosque was seeking to buy the church.

“They are one of the interested parties,” he said.

“As we speak we are trying to exchange, so really it is premature to make much comment.”

The sale is being handled by estate agent Peter E Gilkes and Co, who advertised the site at £320,000. It already has planning permisison for new housing.

Mr Gilkes said: “We’ve got a sale agreed.

“As far as we’re aware the matter is proceeding. We had interest from quite a few people. A very acceptable offer was received.”

Coun Dennis Edgerley, who oversees planning applications at Chorley Council, said: “If the building is continued to be used as a place of worship then no planning application would be required as there is no change of use.

“A separate application has already been approved at this particular site to allow for the demolition of the building with erection of seven dwellings.”