The Winchester Muslim Cultural Association has agreed to purchase a historical hall in the heart of the city to use as its permanent home.

The association has been looking for a home for the last 20 years and identified Hyde Parish Hall for a mosque and community centre.

The hall was recently sold by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Bartholomew’s Church to fund the refurbishment and upkeep of the medieval church.

Miff Kayum, Winchester Muslim Cultural Association secretary, told the Chronicle that a mosque is a 'significant opportunity' for Muslims in the city.

Mr Kayum said: "Our vision for the parish hall is that it will be an asset for the whole city. and to have a multi-faith community centre.

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"We've been using different venues across the city for prayers and other events. Our activities have been spread, so it has been hard to consolidate our work and build on the services we provide. 

"It also means we can increase our work across the city such as inviting schools to a working mosque." 

According to the 2021 census, 904 Muslims live in the Winchester City Council district and 98 in the St Batholomew ward. 

The cultural association currently has around 500 members. 

The total cost of the purchase and refurbishments will cost around £890,000.

Mr Kayum added: "It's a really significant opportunity to provide for the whole community. We're confident we can raise the funds.

Asian Image: Hyde Parish Hall

"For the call to prayer, we won't be having loudspeakers on the side of the building. The call to prayer is done internally and many people can join online through Zoom so they can pray at home. We're really grateful for the support from our friends in Winchester."

In a Facebook post, the association said: “The sale of Hyde Parish Hall has attracted some interest and the WMCA was one of the interested parties.

“The WMCA committee met on several occasions and sought advice from property owners and developers within our community and made presentations to Jummah congregation. The Winchester Muslim Community agreed that a bid of £700K should be offered for the purchase of Hyde Parish Hall, given its suitability for our purposes, the listed nature of the building and the anticipated refurbishment works. 

“The WMCA committee sought references from our local MP Steve Brine and partner organisation Winchester City of Sanctuary to submit with our offer.

“Alhamdulillah - our offer for Hyde Parish Hall has been accepted and formal heads of terms issued. Solicitors have now been engaged. 

SEE ALSO: Hyde Parish Hall put up for sale to fund St Bartholomew's Church

“The committee felt that given the response of our community that the shortfall of £250K plus refurbishment costs and contingency funds, that this amount could be easily raised with a concerted and clear fundraising strategy.

“In terms of time frame, the sellers have asked for completion in the next two months although the committee feel this is unrealistic and will finalise an agreed timeframe in discussion with our solicitor.

“We have met with our solicitor and performed the necessary ID checks and engagement process. 

“Our discussion with the solicitor has confirmed that, as a registered charity, there is no stamp duty – Alhamdulillah. 

“However, there are some steps we need to take and some discussion to have as a community around how we structure the sale such as whether we use trustee’s names or whether we set up a limited company to facilitate the purchase. This may have an impact on stamp duty.

“At this stage we are seeking written professional advice and then we will organise a special general meeting to present the different options and ask for the community’s approval.

“Going forwards there will be a lot of excitement and there will be a lot of work to do.”

In the past the association has looked at several properties in Winchester, including the former Roman Catholic church on Stoney Lane in Weeke. In the end no agreement could be reached  and the site was eventually was sold for housing.

The association has launched a Just Giving page to help fund the purchase. 

For more details, visit: