Halesowen’s Long Lane Methodist Church has been bought by local Muslims and will open as a fully functioning mosque and community centre in March.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, which runs the School Street mosque in Cradley Heath, bought the property for £460,000 and are spending tens of thousands more transforming the old church.

The premises has stood empty since the Methodists relocated to the nearby Crossway Centre in 2009.

President of the Long Lane Ahmadiyya Muslim Association Dr Masood Majoka is delighted with the new property.

He said: “For 102 years this wonderful building has been used for prayers and we are delighted to continue that tradition and we are looking forward to renovating it.

“We will have to make a few changes to the building to ensure that we face towards Mecca for prayers.”

“Our association is made up of 95 per cent local people and we picked this site because it came up for sale and has a big car park, is private from three sides and has two big halls that can be used.”

Blackheath and Halesowen Methodist circuit superintendent minister Paul Donnison explained why his church relocated.

He said: “We left Long Lane Methodist Church in Autumn 2009 as we had some of the issues associated with the upkeep of an older building.

“We purchased an alternative site, the Crossway Centre, Halesowen Road, and invested the proceeds of the sale in relocating there, where we are rengaging with the local community.”

He added: “We wish the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association success with its project at Long Lane.”

The fast growing Ahmadiyya branch of Islam was established in 19th Century India and preaches the doctrine of Love for All - Hatred for None and the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslims will visit Halesowen in March to bless the mosque.

The association confirmed there are no current plans to erect a minaret on new mosque as it planned to do at its School Street premises in Cradley Heath.

Ahmadiyya Muslim association member Toby Ephram, who has done community outreach work in Cradley Heath, said: “It is an honour for His Holinesss Mirza Masroor Ahmad to bless the new mosque and we have invited the local MP, mayor, councillors and other members of the community to the event.

“We intend to have a community centre on the site which will be open for local people to use for free as we do not believe in charging for the use of our facilities.

“We will expect local counicllors, police officers and other groups to take advantage and use our meeting rooms and we want to help the community we have moved into in any way we can.

“This is a beautiful building and we are delighted to have prevented it from being demolished like other churches in the area.”