by Grainne Cuffe, local democracy reporter
A new animated video shows what a proposed 50,000 square foot Islamic Centre proposed for Lewisham will look like.
The new centre is set to replace the 40-year-old mosque in Lewisham High Street.
Work on the four-storey proposed building, currently at pre-application stage, could begin as early as next summer pending planning approval and will include a café, nursery, gym, and a library open to the public.
Around 13 flats are included in the proposals to help fund the project.
Mohammed Afaq, from 1618 Architects, which is behind the project’s design, said the initial talks with Lewisham Council planners were going well.
“We’ve had a very positive virtual meeting with the planners.
“We’ve gone away to address some of the minor concerns they had with the scheme.
“We hope to submit that back in at the end of June, maybe the middle of June, with a view to submit it for full formal planning and then it comes into the public domain,” he said.
Mr Afaq said the scheme aims to bring together the wider community and provide a “much better, modern contemporary set of facilities for the locals who are already using the centre”.
“It’s not just going to be a mosque, it’s an Islamic Centre, it’s a teaching centre, it’s an education centre, it will have a café, a nursery, and a library open to all – it will be open to all sections of the community,” he said.
The plans for the centre, “primarily for the local neighbourhood”, also include a large water feature, a courtyard, two prayer halls, and multipurpose halls.
No developer has been chosen for the project yet, but two or three are being looked at.
Mr Afaq said his firm was hoping to work with locals as much as possible to “alleviate any concerns”.
Lewisham Mosque is currently fundraising to support the project.
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