A mosque proposed for a Preston conservation area would be a landmark building, according to the planning expert behind it. Alban Cassidy, of planning consultants Cassidy and Ashton, said plans for the Masjid-e-Salaam mosque on Watling Street Road, Fulwood, would be one of the “grand public buildings” of the conservation area. However, locals have raised concerns about the extra traffic they fear the building would attract and its impact on the area. Mr Cassidy said: “We are not trying to replicate something on a domestic scale, but in the same way that when Christ Church was built over 100 years ago it sat within homes, we want this building to do the same. “It is an opportunity to set a grand public building centrally on the site and within the context of the other grand buildings in the conservation area.” He said the mosque committee, which secured planning permission from Preston Council for a smaller scale design in May 2008 after a long-running planning battle, had decided to put together the new plans after buying up two pieces of land next to the existing building. Mr Cassidy said: “That gives the development more room to express itself, allowing more parking space, more space inside the building, more landscaping and creates a different context.” The new building would lift the maximum amount of worshippers from 130 to 170, but the majority of the extra space would be used to provide more room in the building, including a bigger lobby area where worshippers would gather before entering prayer. But Mr Cassidy said it would not consistently attract large numbers of people from outside the area. He said: “It maybe that for special religious festivals, perhaps, there could be more people but the size of the prayer hall only adds an extra 40 people, so it is not going to be a huge number of extra people.” Peter Horton, secretary of the Fulwood Conservation Association, said the group believed the building was “not in keeping” with the conservation area. He added: “Just because the mosque has accumulated land does not mean it is okay to increase the size of its plans so substantially.”
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