The Nelson Inn pub, situated on Slaithwaite Road, Thornhill Lees, is set to be thrown into the history books as a modestly-sized Islamic centre and prayer room is due to be built on the grounds. Naturally, some news reports have taken an emotional line on the matter, with outlets and locals reminiscing over old times. However, the change in use at the address is a clear sign of the ongoing societal changes and steady increases in the broader area’s Muslim residents. 
Nearby Bradford has a 30.5% Muslim population
According to the 2021 Census data, the areas immediately surrounding and including the town of Dewsbury have a particularly high concentration of Muslims. 
Indeed, the city of Leeds – the third-largest settlement after London and Birmingham – has a Muslim population of 7.8 percent. Moreover, 18.5 per cent of residents in Kirklees identify as Muslim, and a particularly substantial 30.5 per cent of Bradford residents are Muslim. 
With these large proportions of Muslims in surrounding areas, there is clearly an ongoing need for such Islamic centres and prayer spaces.
A modest site for Islamic studies
This particular Islamic centre is not envisaged to be a large site. Rather, it is hoped that it will be able to accommodate a maximum of 10 worshippers or 15 students at any one time.
As approved by Kirklees Council’s Planning Sub-Committee for the Heavy-Woolen Area, another of the conditions for planning approval was that an electric charging point be made available for vehicles. In addition, there are to be six parking spaces for vehicles accessing the site. 
According to planning records, we can see that a total of 33 representations were made in relation to the planning application and 29 were ‘for’ the proposal. Of the four representations against the application, some had questioned why there is a need for another Islamic centre, given that there are many more in the area. Others argued that there would be an adverse impact on highway safety. None of these opposing views were deemed significant enough to prevent the council’s approval of the site. 
The more Islamic centres, the better
We hope that the centre becomes a source of success and a means for more Muslims to attend in an educational capacity or to attend and perform prayers. We also hope that those who study at the centre may grow to become the future Muslim generation’s leaders.
It is always welcome news when a new Islamic centre and prayer space is created, and although this site may not be legally or technically classed as a “mosque”, we are reminded of the famous ḥādīth,
Uthman ibn Affan (radiy Allāhu ‘anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said,
“Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, Allah will build for him a house like it in Paradise.” 
 Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī | 450