A FORMER pub will be transformed into an education centre for Muslims, despite concerns from villagers.
Kaiser Choundry has been given permission to turn the Melrose Arms, in Front Street, Shotton Colliery, into a venue for around 10 local families.
However, the businessman, who also owns the Albert Guest House opposite, has said the venue would also be open to others following concerns from residents the venture could lead to segregation in the community.
Parking and traffic congestion were also highlighted.
A petition of more than 100 names and 13 letters of objection were lodged against the application with Durham County Council. Four letters of support were received.
The bid followed an initial application which asked for permission to turn the derelict building into a prayer hall.
The approval has been grabnted on condition that a further application would to be needed if the centre was to be used for worship.
The education centre will open seven days a week, could host community meetings and be used by youth workers.