- The Greyhound Inn in Normanton, a suburb of Derby, closed in August
- It has been bought by a local mosque which wants to turn it into a centre for religious instruction
- Locals are angry at losing 'a cornerstone of the community' in the pub
Villagers have been left angry at news that their local pub is set to be converted into a mosque after being shut down because it did not make enough money.
The Greyhound Inn in Normanton, a suburb of Derby, closed for good in August and was put up for sale by giant pub company Enterprise Inns.
It has now been bought by the Jamia Mosque, which has its headquarters in the city centre, and the new owners have applied for planning permission to turn it into a religious institution.
The Greyhound is one of thousands of old-fashioned pubs to have shut down across Britain in recent years, with 29 said to be closing every week.
Doomed: The Greyhound Inn in Normanton, Derby has shut down after persistently losing money
Locals are baffled by the application - pointing out that Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol and that a former pub is therefore an unusual venue for a mosque.
Chantelle Fletcher, 24, and her boyfriend Ben Smith, 30, expressed fury that they would be losing their local pub.
Mr Smith said: 'The pub that was a cornerstone of the community is gone and obviously it's forbidden in the Koran to drink, so I cannot understand it.
'There was a good community feeling there - you could go for a drink and watch the football as well as have food with your mates.
'I don't agree that it is what we need. It has been a pub for years and years and we had no idea that it would become a mosque.'
Miss Fletcher added: 'Surely it would defeat the point of people going there to pray if it had been a place where people used to drink and get drunk?'
Transformation: The pub has been taken over by a mosque and is set to be converted into a centre for religious instruction
The application submitted last month claims that the site 'will serve its local community's current needs', and will be able accommodate up to 60 people in the former pub.
It also states that the building will be a place of teaching, meetings and prayer with tuition taking the form of lectures in the mornings and evenings during the week.
The site's carpark will be extended to hold around 40 vehicles, with the mosque intended to relieve traffic in other areas because local Muslims currently have to travel some distance on a Friday to go to prayers.
Another neighbour, Christine Cullen, 62, said: 'The Greyhound always used to be a proper boozer and somewhere that people would go for a pub Sunday lunch after church.
'It's not a popular decision around here, but I'm not personally against it as such.'
The planning application claims that the Greyhound Inn had long failed to make a profit, and had been looked after by a series of temporary landlords while Enterprise Inns tried to sell it.
It says: 'The more historic Norman Arms house some 200m away to the east and Evington Social Club 200m to the west have and still serve the local community.'
The Normanton population is around one-third Muslim, with the 2011 census recording 5,692 followers of Islam living in the area.
The plans lodged with the council describe how the increasing size of Derby's Muslim population has led to more and more mosques being built in the city, while a 'general culture change' has made local pubs such as the Greyhound less viable.
At the time the pub was sold off, landlord Will Hare said: 'It's a nice community pub, with nice people. We are disappointed and they are sorry they are losing their local but there's nothing we can do about it.'
Derby City Council is currently consulting on the plans with the former pub's neighbours, and will announce its decision in six weeks' time.
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: 'We completed a sale on the Greyhound in September and the freehold for the property has now passed to the purchaser.'
The Campaign for Real Ale claims that 29 pubs shut down each week across the UK as drinkers prefer to buy alcohol from supermarkets and consume it at home, while choosing to eat out in restaurants or cafes instead of pubs.
There are now fewer than 52,000, down from 67,800 in the early 1980s, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.
Earlier this year, then-Minister Stephen Williams suggested that one reason for the wave of closures was that in some areas the 'white working class' has been replaced by immigrant communities with large numbers of Muslims who do not drink.