Mosque plan could be first for Midlothian

Old Co-op building 81/83 High Street, Bonnyrigg, there are plans to turn it into a Muslim Community centre.

Old Co-op building 81/83 High Street, Bonnyrigg, there are plans to turn it into a Muslim Community centre.

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In what could be a first for the county, plans are afoot to convert a Bonnyrigg eyesore into a mosque and Muslim community centre.

The project is being spearheaded by a group called the Midlothian Muslim Community Centre.

Its members are keen to create a focal point for the growing Asian community, and it is understood that their offer to buy the Scottish Midland Co-operative Society-owned property at 81-83 High Street has been accepted.

Last year the Advertiser reported how the site had been dubbed “a disgrace” and “the ugliest building in Bonnyrigg” by a local councillor.

Now local businessman Mohammed Asaf (28) has lodged a planning application with Midlothian Council. The new centre would include an Asian restaurant and grocer’s shop on the ground floor, with prayer and meeting rooms above.

Mr Asaf, of Waugh Path in Bonnyrigg, told the Advertiser: “This would be the only centre of its kind in Midlothian. We have been trying to set this up for years, and made unsuccessful attempts to buy two or three other buildings in Bonnyrigg.

“There are more than 30 Muslim households in this town alone – there is a big demand for somewhere to gather. Midlothian is full of Asian people who don’t know each other and there are no facilities for our people.”

Read full story in the June 27 edition of the Midlothian Advertiser.