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Prayer centre in new bid to extend opening hours and increase capacity

Posted on - 5th June, 2024 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fishwick, Frenchwood, Preston Council, Preston News
External view of Boulevard Community Prayer Centre
Boulevard Community Prayer Centre

A Muslim prayer centre has brought forward new plans to extend its operating hours and allow five times more worshippers.

Boulevard Community Prayer Centre, based on Carlton Drive in Frenchwood, is asking permission to vary the conditions of its planning permission in a move which could see it open as early as 4am.

The Musalla, which is set in a former newsagents in a converted semi-detached house, is currently limited to opening from 7am-10pm and to having no more than eight worshippers at a time.

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Under new proposals lodged with Preston City Council, it wants to extend this to 40 people in the daytime and 20 from 11.30pm-7am. This would be combined with new flexible opening hours which are “one hour before dawn to one hour after sunset”.

Explaining the reasoning, a letter submitted with the application states that practising Muslims are required to say five sets of prayers a day, with the times effectively determined by the position of the sun. It is argued that the current times effectively block the usage at Fajr (dawn) and Isha (night) prayers for parts of the year.

It states: “Both of these conditions fundamentally undermine the beneficial role that the  Musalla has for the local Muslim community. The permitted opening hours prevents the Fajr prayer taking place within the  Musalla for much of the year. 

“From late January to late November, 10 months  of the year, the performance of the Fajr prayer cannot take place without conflict with condition 3. 

“This is an unreasonable constraint on the facility and  undermines one of its key components.”

It is also argued that attendees at Fajr prayers is lower than those in the daytime – as many pray at home or in private places – so there would be a minimal impact on neighbours.

Explaining the request to increase the number of attendees, the application suggests it would reduce the noise and environmental harms of increased car use.

It says: “The two nearest Mosques are Faizan e Madina and Jamea Masjid,  each of which are located 18 minute’s walk up a steep hill or a 5 minute drive away depending on traffic. “The use of the Musalla thus allows attendees to avoid  a steep walk or a short drive as it is located within an area with a growing Muslim  population and enables them to walk to practise their obligations. 

“Any restrictions on this use will result in more activity and more car use in the local  area as the Mosques will need to be attended up to five times a day instead. The Musalla is within walking distance for most of those wishing to attend.”

The application will be determined by Preston City Council.

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