A MOSQUE in Eastville will gain a minaret and Arabic decorations as part of plans to give it a more “inviting and vibrant” appearance in keeping with its use.
The Jalalabad Islamic Centre on Fishponds Road has been in use as a mosque since 2011, having previously been the North Bristol Social Club.
It stands in a series of Victorian era three-storey houses, with a large flat-roofed extension at the back and side.
Plans submitted to the city council would extend the north east entrance to the building and provide a “substantial upgrade” to its appearance, with Arabic geometry and calligraphy on the front wall and arched doorway designs along the wall in Sandy Lane.
In a statement supporting the application, Stapleton-based architects Studio Yaqub said: “The proposed work to Jalalabad Islamic Centre is to focus on creating an inviting and vibrant external appearance to the building whilst also improving access into the space.”
The architects said the improved appearance, including a “modern minaret” and extended main entrance, “will allow a substantial upgrade to the presence of the building, with the main aim being to create a more welcoming atmosphere”.
They said: “It was clear following detailed discussions that the building required a clearer sense of visual purpose for its current use.
“The proposal has been carefully developed with consultation from the committee and its wider congregation to ensure the proposal is reflective of the aspirations of its congregation, whilst also bearing in mind that any proposal needs to adhere with local policy and respect its neighbours. “The architectural language has been carefully considered to be bold yet restrained, with its main focus being to the ground floor of the site.”
The mosque stands next to the much bigger New Testament Church of God, formerly St Thomas the Apostle church.
The building made headlines when, shortly after it became a mosque, a Banksy artwork on the wall, known as Gorilla in a Pink Mask, was painted over by the new owner, Saeed Ahmed, who had not realised its provenance.
The section of wall was removed in 2020 by art restoration company Exposed Walls and put up for auction in October of that year, then removed from sale. Its current whereabouts are unclear.
No objections had been made to the plans as the Voice went to print.
They can be viewed on the planning section of the city council’s website by searching for application 23/04756/F.
Top picture – left: What the Jalalabad Islamic Centre on the corner of Fishponds Road and Sandy Lane looks like now. Right: How the new minaret and entrance will look, in an image supplied to planners by Bristol architects Studio Yaqub.