The chairman of an arson-hit mosque says it can now move forward after councillors approved plans to build an Islamic centre for worshippers.

Mohammed Asif, Chairman of Cradley Heath Central Mosque and Islamic Centre, said he was delighted after Sandwell Council passed the application to construct a new two-storey building on Plant Street.

The new centre will be used to provide classes for children and hold gatherings for Muslim families holding social events and conducting bereavement services.

The plans will replace a building destroyed by a blaze on Boxing Day 2009.

A new Islamic centre is to rise from the ashes of an arson attack in Cradley Heath.
 

Mr Asif said a temporary structure, built after the attack, was no longer fit for purpose.

“It really was a struggle and a testing time back in 2009 when the incident occurred and very difficult to put into words, a really sad day that the locals still struggle to talk about because we really would not wish that upon anyone."

He added “It’s good to finally move forward after that heart-breaking moment which will live with us forever.

“We have raised all the funds through donations from our mosque members and we have never claimed any grants or government funding for any projects.

“We would like to thank all the local community for their continued help and support and all the well-wishers who have been there for us, it's very much appreciated.”

Backing the proposal at Wednesday’s planning committee Cllr Julie Webb, deputy chair of planning and a Cradley Heath and Old Hill ward councillor,  said: “I want to say that since the mosque has been built and since the people have been worshipping there, we haven’t had any problems whatsoever.

“The local community support these people and I fully support the application.”

The proposal was passed unanimously.