A United Kingdom Mosque where worshippers regularly have to pray in the car park has drawn up plans for a new building.
Central Masjid on Southfield Road in Middlesbrough wants to build a bigger mosque along with a 24-hour gym, a lecture theatre, classrooms and cafe.
Chairman Gohar Ihsan said the community has outgrown the current site and wanted to create a hub for more interaction with local people.
The plans will be submitted to Middlesbrough Council “imminently”.
About 500 people currently worship at the mosque but only about half of them can fit inside at one time. The new mosque is intended to cater for 1,000 worshippers.
Mr Ihsan said: “We have people praying outside in the rain sometimes on Fridays and it’s freezing cold, especially in the winter.
“What we are building is not just a mosque, the whole point of the development is there is a broader vision for a community hub, there is nothing like this in the whole of the North East.
“It will be the most forward-thinking mosques in terms of development and interaction, bringing new initiatives to the community.”
Mr Ihsan told the Local Democracy Reporting Service in the summer more people attended and the car park is “absolutely ram packed”.
The vision for the new site includes the provision of education classes, as well as activities for children and initiatives such as visits to people in care homes, litter picks and tree planting.
The mosque has an “open door policy” for the local community and runs a weekly food bank.
Mr Ihsan said “99.9%” of its users were not Muslims, and he believes it is part of the mosque’s role to “welcome and accommodate everyone”. (BBC)