Rural Llanbedr chapel will be turned into mosque

Moriah Methodist Chapel Image copyright Google
Image caption Moriah Methodist Chapel was built in 1856 but the present structure dates back to 1913

Plans to turn a former chapel in Snowdonia's national park into a mosque and meditation centre have been given the go-ahead.

The group behind the scheme said Capel Moriah at Llanbedr, near Harlech in Gwynedd, was the "ideal location to find peace".

The chapel has lain empty for several years.

Residents have said they would welcome the building returning to being used for worship.

"It's been on the market for some time and the application doesn't involve a real change of use - it will continue to be used as its intended purpose," said community councillor Gruffydd Price.

The new Jamia Almaarif Mosque and Meditation Centre will be aimed at a holiday market. According to the last census in 2011, not a single person in the village of Llanbedr identified as a Muslim.

Fatima Bodhee, a director of Jamia Almaarif, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the centre would provide "Islamic and non Islamic activities."

"It will be available all year round for anyone from the Muslim faith who is travelling or living within travelling distance to pray in it and we do not expect more than 150 people visiting at any one time," she said.

The chapel is a Grade-II listed building, and planners have insisted that the new centre retains its pulpit and some of the original pews.

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