Hawzah News Agency (Norwich, UK) – Work is due to start on a £1 million mosque and community cafe being created at a former pub site in Aylsham Road in Norwich.
Planning permission was granted for the mosque at the former King Edward VII pub back in December 2017 but the site remained boarded up with security railings around it.
But now a spokesman from the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust told this newspaper that work was about to start with builders currently being instructed.
There is a time pressure, however, as the planning permission will lapse in December 2020 and also because the derelict building has been the target of vandals.
A new mosque is needed to accommodate the East Anglian Islamic Centre's growing congregation of 250 people which is currently based on Rose Lane.
A spokesman said: "We are raising the money needed which is about £800,000 to £1m from members and from our organizations around the country and want to start quickly as there have been vandals going into the derelict building which we are very worried about."
The trust has always maintained that the former pub, which was built in 1902, will not be demolished. Instead, it will be refurbished and turned into a cafe for people to use regardless of their religious background.
Since the plans were made public, people living around the proposed site had been "very welcoming" of the plans, said the spokesman.
The mosque will include a prayer hall, kitchen and cloakrooms on the first floor.
Meanwhile the ground floor will house a counselling room, a gymnasium, prayer room, funeral room and office. The site, between Waterloo Park Avenue and Edmund Bacon Court, will also have 20 parking spaces with a further 50 spaces available the nearby St Luke's Church.
The site, which includes the pub and a large garden to the rear cost around £450,000. Records show that the site used to be home to the Philadelphia Brewery in 1870 before it was replaced by the King Edward VII pub.