A NEW £500,000 mosque looks set to give a huge boost to the Muslim community in Chorley.
Work is due to start on the first ever purpose built mosque, on Brooke Street, after near 10 years in the pipeline and its members have expressed their delight at the prospect of new facilities.
Najeeb Raza, of the Chorley Muslim Welfare Society, was eager to move from the current premises on Lyons Lane, which the Muslim community has used for more than 20 years.
He said: "We have been in this building for many years, since around 1980, and we are looking forward to move to a new purpose built mosque."
The current centre has three floors used for prayer, with about 50 people attending during the week and on occasions in excess of 200 for the prayers on Fridays.
Mr Raza, said: "We have spent a good deal of time finding the right area and the right land to build the new mosque on.
"The new facility will have a capacity of 300 and will easily be able to house everyone. It will also have room for the teaching the children after school and a library for the holy books."
Elderly residents at nearby Eldon House sheltered accommodation had voiced concerns about the plans for additional car parking spaces, but have been assured that many of the Muslim community will be coming to the mosque on foot.
Mr Raza added: "The only people who really use the car park are those coming from outside Chorley, because many local Muslims will live very close to the mosque."
It is also believed that the new facility could bring in more businesses to Chorley.
Mr Raza said: "With the new mosque in place I think that it could encourage more people to invest in new businesses in the area, because they would have some where to come during the day for prayer."
Members of the mosque say that they have been greatly encouraged by the support of Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle and the commitment to equality shown by Chorley Council which approved the plans.
Mr Raza added: "We were all very anxious to see that the plans would be suitable and we are now very pleased with them and that council has been so supportive."
It is hoped that construction of the mosque will be completed early next year.