Eastbourne Mosque revamp plan

EASTBOURNE'S Mosque is in line for a major rebuild.

Elders at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Ashford Road unveiled ambitious plans for the facelift which is now being considered by town planners.

The Islamic community took over the building, formerly the Seeboard Social Club, 15 years ago but with an increase in worshippers, the one storey building is not fit for purpose and in desperate need of modernisation.

There are just two small areas for worshipping and the toilet facilities are outdated. More than 100 people use the mosque and the busiest session is Friday afternoon.

The plans for the new two storey building include a much larger prayer hall for men, a prayer hall for women, a meeting room, a classroom and toilets.

Taleb Durgahee, a trustee at the mosque and an Eastbourne businessman, said he believed a new building would enhance the area.

"At present the space we have here is very limited and the building looks like a chicken shed," said Taleb. "We want to keep the existing footprint but make the mosque more comfortable and safer and provide better space and facilities to the Islamic community here in Eastbourne.

"We have worked very closely with planning officers at Eastbourne Borough Council and have revised the plan several times. We have also provided the council with 18 months' data of attendance and activities here and have been sensitive to our neighbours who live in the square.

"We want the centre to be part of Eastbourne. We are very involved with the community in Eastbourne."

Azizul Islam, a fellow trustee and businessman, said, "We had a vision of what is very important to us and that is to have a safe place to worship. Any other activity is not tolerated here at all. We want people to worship and learn so they become good members of society."

Sheriff Koomar, treasurer, said the mosque relies totally on donations from the Islamic community and the rebuild would be funded by local mosque users.

The plans have now been submitted to the council's planning department.