Building work has begun at the site of a new mosque in Eastbourne town centre.
The existing building in Ashford Square, which has been used as a place of worship for some years, is currently being knocked down to make way for a new Islamic Cultural Centre.
Planning permission for the new three storey building was granted in 2010 amid a backlash of protest from people living in Ashford Square and nearby Ashford Road who were concerned about an increase in parking problems and being overlooked.
At the time there was a 184-signature petition and 40 letters against the application with a 401-signature petition and 61 letters in favour.
The mosque next to the railway line was a former SeeBoard social club which leaders say was like a dilapidated old army hut, outdated and in desperate need of modernisation.
The new mosque will have prayer halls for both men and women, facilities for children, a kitchen, Imam’s room, a library and classroom.
There will be a limit on 100 people in the building during weekly Friday prayers, no Call to Prayer, and arrangements are being made to lease parking spaces in the nearby Junction Road car park.
A spokesperson for Eastbourne Islamic Cultural Centre said, “By the grace of Allah, we have now signed the final contract for the construction of our new mosque. On behalf of EICC we would like to thank everyone for their continued support.
“The mosque is being rebuilt for the people of Eastbourne. Our policy and vision is there will be no international funding, no international influence of any kind, control will be totally with the local people and there will be no politics allowed.
“We want to keep the existing footprint of the building but make the mosque more comfortable and safer and provide better facilities here in Eastbourne.”
Worship sessions have moved to Langney Village Hall in Etchingham Road.
Planning permission for the new mosque was due to expire on March 6 and building work began last month.
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