Billionaire Issa brothers: £5m ‘landmark’ Blackburn mosque approved

Plans by the billionaire Issa brothers to build a “landmark” mosque in Blackburn have been approved.

The £5m scheme by the siblings, who recently bought supermarket giant Asda , had faced objections over the height of its minarets and potential noise.

However, Blackburn with Darwen Council approved the plans after the Issa Foundation agreed to address 21 issues.

Councillor Phil Riley said it would be an “impressive facility” which could “only enhance the spirit of the town”.

The council’s planning committee gave permission for the project to go ahead on the site of former site of Westholme School on Thursday.

‘No ordinary mosque’

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Browne raised concerns to the committee about the height of the minaret towers, which he described as “absolutely far too big” and “out of proportion altogether”.

However, planning manager Gavin Prescott said the proposed 95ft (29m) towers were “typical of Islamic architecture”. 

“The towers are considered to frame the surrounding area with the existing church towers associated with St Silas Church and Sacred Heart Church,” he added. 

Zuber and Mohsin Issa
Image captionThe Issa brothers started their business with a single petrol forecourt in Bury in 2001

Mr Prescott also said noise would be limited with no amplified calls to prayer and nearby trees on Preston New Road road would be protected.

Mr Riley, the council’s lead on regeneration, said it was “going to be no ordinary mosque”. 

“It’s going to be an absolutely landmark building at a very important gateway,” he said.

“With its Islamic architecture, it obviously reflects the changing face of modern Blackburn… and this will show Blackburn in the new light of a place where there is diversity, but also where communities mix.

“It’s going to be an impressive community facility and can… only enhance the spirit of the town itself.”

The committee was also told the Issa Foundation would pay £30,000 to improve safety at a nearby junction and employ parking marshals to reduce road safety risks.


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