Billionaire Issa brothers reveal plan for ‘iconic’ mosque in Blackburn, UK

Source: Lancashire Telegraph

By Bill Jacobs @BillJacobsLT

THE billionaire Issa brothers want to create an ‘iconic’ mosque in their home town.

The EG Group founders Mohsin and Zuber’s charitable foundation has submitted plans for the new building with a dome and two minarets on the recently-vacated site of Westholme School’s former infant and first school.

The scheme would demolish the existing buildings and as well as a place of Muslim worship it would include a community centre for the use of all faiths and backgrounds.

The Issa Foundation’s registered charity has submitted a planning application for the project in Billinge and Beardwood ward to Blackburn with Darwen Council.

A design and access statement supporting the scheme at the junction of Preston New Road, Billinge End Road and Buncer Lane says: “The new proposal will: maintain and improve the principle of community use on the site; redevelop a vacant brownfield site and bring it back in to an active use for the benefit of the local community; provide facilities for prayers, training, education, social care and community integration; create an iconic building and place of worship; and promote interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims, provide a positive contribution towards Blackburn’s community cohesion agenda.

“The new facility and in particular the place of worship, will provide a dedicated provision for ladies and children.

“All the facilities within the replacement place of worship and community centre will be open to the local community irrespective of their creed, colour or religion.

“The community centre will be made available for the local community as well as serving as a focal meeting point for meetings and other events for local councillors, the health authority and others such as social services and housing etc.

“The design of the place of worship is of contemporary Islamic architecture, having arched windows and fenestration complete with two minarets and a dome.”

Cllr Phil Riley, the council’s growth boss, said: “It sounds as though this will be a very impressive building on one of the key gateways into the town.”

Reference

Additional reading

Blackburn /ˈblækbərn/ (About this soundlisten) is a large industrial town located in Lancashire, England, north of the West Pennine Moors on the southern edge of the Ribble Valley, 8 miles (13 km) east of Preston and 20.9 miles (34 km) NNW of Manchester.[n 1][4] Blackburn is bounded to the south by Darwen, with which it forms the unitary authority of Blackburn with Darwen; Blackburn is its administrative centre.

At the 2001 census, Blackburn had a population of 105,085,[2] whilst the wider borough of Blackburn with Darwen had a population of 148,850.[5] Blackburn had a population of 117,963 in 2011.[1]

A former mill town, textiles have been produced in Blackburn since the middle of the 13th century, when wool was woven in people’s houses in the domestic systemFlemish weavers who settled in the area in the 14th century helped to develop the woollen cottage industry.[6] The most rapid period of growth and development in Blackburn’s history coincided with the industrialisation and expansion of textile manufacturing.

Blackburn’s textile sector fell into decline from the mid-20th century and subsequently faced similar challenges to other post-industrial northern towns, including deindustrialisation, economic deprivation and housing problems. The town has experienced very high levels of immigration, with people of ethnic backgrounds other than white British making up 30.8% of the population.[7] Blackburn has had significant investment and redevelopment since 1958 through government funding and the European Regional Development Fund.[8]

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