Mosque rumours quashed

Former Woolworths which sits on Bath Street, Ilkeston
Former Woolworths which sits on Bath Street, Ilkeston

Internet rumours that the former Woolworths store in Ilkeston is to be transformed into a mosque have been quashed by the council and the building’s owners.

The Bath Street property, which has fallen into a state of disrepair since the high street giant closed down in 2004, is currently owned by the international Muslim organisation, The World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities.

But a spokesman for the Middlesex based charity confirmed to the Advertiser this week that there are no such plans and the building is up for sale.

A spokesman for Erewash Borough Council also confirmed that no planning applications or change of use requests had been made in connection with the eyesore building.

Hundreds of people on social media site Facebook had commented on the rumours.

Jon Wright posted: “I am not racist nor do I have any views on whether it becomes a mosque or not, but I’d like to see it used for something rather than sat empty.”

While Aileen Doyle Wright asked: “It’s owned by a Muslim charity. Why would that be a negative thing?”

The shop has been the cause of much debate since it closed down.

Many suggestions have been made and planning applications for residential and retail premises have been submitted but never come to fruition.

The ‘Tiser reported a fortnight ago on the future of the site still being in limbo.

When interviewed, lead member for regeneration and planning at Erewash Borough Council, Cllr Geoffrey Smith, explained that there was not a lot that the council could do about the privately-owned property.

He explained: “It would be a great employment and re-development opportunity for Ilkeston if the building was bought and plans were followed through.”

The property is now being advertised for sale at a price of £275,000 by commercial estate agents Musson Liggins Ltd.

The details read: “The subject property is situated with a substantial retail frontage to Bath Street, which is considered the main retail street in Ilkeston’s town centre.

“The town has excellent transport links with the A610 providing quick and convenient access to Junction 26 of the M1 motorway located approximately three miles away.”