Preston Mosque 2, Luca Poian Forms, P RIBA

The mosque was the subject of an international design competition. Credit: Luca Poian Forms via RIBA

Landmark Preston mosque signed off by secretary of state

Nearly a year after it was first greenlit by the city council, the Brick Veil Mosque off D’Urton Lane has outline planning approval.

The 16,000 sq ft mosque was the subject of an international RIBA design competition in 2021, which was won by London-based architect Luca Poian Forms. Coming in at three storeys, the focal point of the religious building is the 30-metre-tall minaret.

Preston City Council had already indicated its approval of the project at a planning committee meeting in February last year. However, before approval could be finalised the secretary of state opted to call in the application.

The final decision to grant planning permission comes after a six-day inquiry last summer led by inspector Darren Hendley. Upon the conclusion of the inquiry, Hendley recommended the secretary of state for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities approve the project.

It was a recommendation that Lucy Frazer, minister of state for housing and planning, followed in her decision letter – which was written on behalf of secretary of state Michael Gove. The letter was published on Monday afternoon.

Preston Mosque 3, Luca Poian Forms, P RIBA

The now-approved mosque at dusk. Credit: Luca Poian Forms via RIBA

Concerns had been raised early on regarding the proposed Preston mosque, primarily over projected traffic increases, the site’s location in open countryside, and the visual impact on nearby historic buildings. Frazer addressed each of these

In her letter, she stated that D’Urton Lane would be capable of accommodating the increase in traffic. She also said that the 150-proposed parking spaces were part of a “robust package of measures to address car parking,” alongside a travel plan for cyclist and pedestrian access.

The two-acre site’s status within the open countryside was acknowledged by Frazer, who also pointed out that the site did not meet the qualifications for brownfield designation. The mosque’s location was presented as in conflict with the area’s development plan.

Also going against the application: the impact it would have on the setting of the grade two-star listed Church of St John the Baptist. This was deemed as “less than substantial” harm though.

Preston Mosque, Luca Poian Forms, P RIBA

A rendering showing how the mosque would look when complete in Preston. Credit: Luca Poian Forms via RIBA

Working in the application’s favour, however, was its strong design, its goal to achieve a BREEAM rating of Very Good, and the need for a place for local Muslims to worship.

In Frazer’s decision, she noted that Luca Poian’s designs for the mosque “exceed the aspirations of development plan policies”.

The planning approval for the mosque only covers the scheme’s outline application, although the layout included in this application is listed as one of the conditions for approval. A reserved matters application is set to be submitted in due course.

Preston-based consultants Cassidy + Ashton Group spearheaded the planning process for its unnamed client.

Alban Cassidy, director of Cassidy+Ashton, said he was “delighted” by the result.

“We have always argued that the overwhelming need for a mosque in Broughton and North Preston due to the growing Muslim population and the outstanding quality of the architecture justified planning permission being granted,” Cassidy said.

“It is so pleasing that first Preston City Council, then the planning inspector, and now the secretary of state have agreed with us,” he continued.

“This will be a wonderful landmark for the city to be enjoyed by the whole community for many years to come.”

Preston City Council cabinet member for planning and regulation, Cllr David Borrow, also praised the outcome of the inquiry.

Borrow said: “We are pleased that the secretary of state’s decision is to approve the planning application following the public inquiry last year. This is consistent with the decision of the council’s planning committee.

“We were surprised that this application was called-in by the secretary of state in the first place with the unnecessary cost to the council taxpayer, but at least the outcome was the right one.”

Want to learn more about the project? The mosque’s planning application reference number with Preston City Council is 06/2021/0431. The reference number with the Planning Inspectorate is APP/N2345/V/22/3296374.

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Finally a fine design to Greater Manchester!!! It was about time!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

By Anonymous

Really dominates its surroundings. I suppose that was rather the point.

By Anonymous

Sorry Anonymous 5.45pm. As much as Greater Manchester is growing, it hasn’t quite expanded as far as Preston yet.

By Charles

Didn’t know that Preston was in Greater Manchester…

As someone that lives in Preston, i really don’t understand the planning decision. There really is no justification for another place of worship. The location will attract more vehicles to an already congested area, especially rush hour periods.

By PrestonLad

There are very few Muslims living in Broughton and there is already a Mosque in North Preston on Watling Street Road, so I don’t understand some of the States comments, though in it’s favour, it does look a fantastic design. Not sure about access with all the other housing developments in the area, including D’urton Lane.

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous! For information regarding the secretary of state’s comments re: need for the mosque, please see their decision letter that is linked in this story. In the inspectors report, you’ll find several sections looking at if there is a mosque needed in that area. Page 59 (or 78 in the PDF) may be of assistance. – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

To anonymous: Preston isn’t a part of greater Manchester. This is a beautiful unique design. Although there are a lot of nice designed mosques within Greater Manchester there is no mosque that is unique as this. London has regent park mosque which is a real eye catcher. The Eco mosque of Cambridge is very unique and beautiful too. Manchester needs something like that.

By Saeed Khan

How many locals had an opportunity to vote on the building ?

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous. Because of the way the planning system works, locals would have had several weeks at least to comment on the outline planning application. Locals would then have been able to comment at the city council’s planning committee meeting (filled with councillors that were voted in by locals). Then there would have been another opportunity for comments from interested groups during the inquiry period. Hope this helps. – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

To be fair, preston council gave a split decision. The chairman had the final say. Hardly democracy.

By Popcorn at the ready

Great news, To be honest, there is growing muslim population in this area which need to travel 2 miles or more each prayer time.

By Anonymous

The traffic at Broughton roundabout will be a nightmare. Well done Preston council

By Anonymous

What a stunning building!

By Anonymous

A fine design!


Completely out of character with its surroundings. Who on earth voted for this?

By Anonymous

Is there enough parking for Fridays? and what is the public transport provision like?

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous! The secretary of state says that there is sufficient parking, but you can read their logic for yourself in the decision letter linked above. You can also examine the highways policy plan in the planning application. It’s reference number on the city council’s planning portal is 06/2021/0431. Hope this helps! – J

    By Julia Hatmaker

Looks huge and oppressive in that first CgI, like a fort on a hill.

By Anonymous

Oh no, it’s out of character with an elevated dual carriageway, a retail park and some unspectacular grass fields. Sure it will blend in over time.

By Tonibell

Beautiful building it seems, just a shame all this carpark can’t be put underground and make a park above it. Big ask and expensive but such building would really look much better surrounded in greenery.

By Anonymous

Agree, wrong place and much too big. What were they thinking.

By Anonymous

“But at least the outcome is the right one” said Cllr Borrow. Whether its the right decision is his opinion only. How benevolent of him to impose upon us his view that it is right for everyone.

By Anonymous

Surely this will encourage people from central Preston to drive out to this semi rural area….not very eco…. not sure many will walk or cycle.

By Anonymous

Looks great. I would like to see a bit more soft landscaping especially around the central POS area but otherwise well done design team!

By Aevis

Absolutely disgusting to allow this to go ahead. Local residents concerns ignored again. This will devalue properties for locals increase traffic chaos and disrupt people’s lives and livelihoods during the construction process. I am old enough to remember this as a lovely small residential area with very little traffic.

By Anonymous

No dome, no mihrab, no Islamic motifs. The building lacks any nod to tradition. There are no images of the interior, so I can’t fully critique it. Another bad design by a non-Muslim Architect.

By Imran Rashid

That is a stunning design suited to 21st Century, finally something worth praising in North West for its architecture!!
I hope they create a story montage of the development displayed within the building which I would definitely come to see.

By Anonymous

this will change the whole demographic of the area – if you build it they will come – so there may not be a big community but there will be in the future. There is a tendancy to move to the amenities one requires.
However I do think there will be massive traffic issues and parking issues.

By Bob Dawson

Great decision finally although much time and money wasted!! All concerns have been addressed so why commentors are raising again here shows the lack of information they have. Also, which mosque in Preston causes issues of concern in terms of traffic, access etc – none! Perhaps you guys need a better understanding of how mosque operates and functions to allay any fears. Perhaps you could take some valuable time and pay a visit to a mosque to gain an better understanding – all doors to mosque are open to all and would gladly welcome you. Lets be positive about. Preston needs this and will bring alot of positivity and benefit with it. You wont be complaining when this bumps up your house price, or eases any if at all traffic pressures to those living near an existing mosque etc etc. Lets be positive. This is great architecture which is very rarely the case nowadays.

By Anon

Great looking design

By Anonymous

I wonder if anybody can advise if there was this much controversy/challenge/opposition when the Mormon Temple was being built off the M61?

By Loganberry

As usual government, local and country wise, take no notice of locals objections and valid reasons for a dwelling not to be built.

By Susan Poulter

@ Imran Rashid. What a strange comment. So if a Church was being built, it would have to be designed by a Christian architect? The mosque chose the architect of their own free will. Perhaps they also wanted to break tradition and move in to the 21st Century. It’s a superb design

By Steve

This story is now closed for comments. If you have any questions you can email me at

By Julia Hatmaker

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