Religious school submits community center plan for former Nelson council offices

A religious school has applied for retrospective planning permission for a series of alterations and activities at a proposed community center in downtown Nelson.

The Best Light Community Hub is being developed in the former council offices at 9 Market Square by candidate Mr. G Hussain, of Light Beam Academy. It includes facilities for education, religious worship, childcare, fitness, health, food and beverage, and meetings.

Work on the Place du Marché building, or change of uses inside it, actually began in September 2020, according to the town planning file. Now retrospective planning and change of use permission is sought by the applicant from Pendle Borough Council.

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Planning permission is required for the exterior alterations which include a fireplace to the rear of the offices, the formation of a cafe facade, the insertion of three windows on the south west side and the creation of a hall entrance to the northwest.

Permission is also required for new types of uses inside the building. These include the sale of food and drink, indoor sports and recreation, medical or health services, a crèche, nursery or day centre; offices, education, public worship or religious instruction, and halls or meeting places for the community.

According to the plans, activities would be organized there day and night, during the week and on weekends.

Food and drink could be sold from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays or 11 p.m. on weekends, if the request is accepted as is. Medical and health activities could be offered from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., sports and fitness from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and nurseries from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Educational activities could take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on weekends. Public worship or religious instruction events could take place between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Meeting rooms and spaces for the community could be available until 11 p.m. in the evening, the app adds.

Mr. Hussain is described as the sole owner of the building.

The Light Beam Academy has a Facebook page that says it was founded to provide a comprehensive, holistic and quality Islamic education for children aged five to 16. Photos show a range of activities, including children’s games, arts and crafts, information about children’s fitness classes and a religious event for adults.

Pendle Borough Council planning officers and councilors will review the application in the coming weeks. The request can be directed to councilors on the Nelson, Brierfield and Reedley committee, followed by the Senior Policy and Resources Committee.

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