Plan for new Muslim study base in Norwich

Muslims living in Norwich will soon have a new base from which to study and learn about their religion if councillors give plans for a new training facility the go-ahead.

Norwich City Council has received an application for a change of use of 15 Chapel Field East from an office to a mixed use residential/training facility; non-residential education/training facility and hostel and associated training rooms, offices and bedrooms over three floors.

The application has been submitted by New Costessey-based Jamal Sealey of the Blackstone Foundation, a charity established in 1993 by the Muslim Community and now based at the Ihsan Mosque in Norwich.

A spokesman for the Blackstone Foundation said the premises on Chapel Field East, which have recently been acquired by the charity, are situated close to the mosque.

He said: 'These include the Norwich Academy for Muslims, the Wazania Academy for Girls and the Chapelfield Language Centre.

'However, we are particularly excited by the prospect of finally having a base for the New Muslim Initiatives (NMI) scheme which is intended to build upon the community's experience and success over more than 30 years, in guiding and assisting new Muslims and those seeking to renew their engagement with the Deen [religion or Muslim way of life].'

The spokesman added that the premises would add an important layer to the fabric of a dynamic, homegrown Islam in Norwich. He said: 'It is our hope that the NMI project will further enhance our work and its benefits to those in need of its facilities by providing accommodation that will enable new Muslims to reside for a certain period in the vicinity of the mosque and within the heart of the community.'

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A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'We have received this planning application. It is currently going through the planning process and a decision will be made in due course.'

Are you planning a new venture in Norwich? Contact Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email