A FORMER Lye pub will be transformed into an Islamic education centre after Dudley planners gave the go-ahead.

The Old Bell on Chapel Street will soon be the venue for weekly Qur'an classes and a range of other activities to meet the "social, spiritual and educational needs of the community" through a range of "lifestyle studies and personal development programmes".

The application, submitted by Rashid Aziz on behalf of the Islamic Community and Education Centre, was approved by members of Dudley Council's Development Control Committee at a meeting earlier this month.

The charitable trust aims to work with local schools and neighbourhood watch schemes, raise awareness of cultural diversity and offer sports sessions and counselling and advisory services.

In his application, Mr Aziz said: "In due course we hope to establish a lasting relationship with faith and non-faith communities, as well as statutory organisations and civil bodies.

"We passionately believe in working with all sections of society irrespective of their race, faith, social background, disability or any other identity."

Prior to making the decision, the council received dozens of letters from members of the public, offering their support for the application.

Uzma Gondal said: “A proposal such as this is long overdue for the Lye community and is much needed. This application will aid the regeneration of Lye town centre and will prevent yet another building being left vacant.”

Aamar Nawaz added: “The multi-cultural community in Lye and the surrounding area really requires a centre of this type. For one we need to harmonise community relations in the area and there is an urgent need to get the kids off the street.”

Conditions of the approval include a revised car park layout, which would include disabled bays and a pick up and drop off area.