MUSLIM leaders in Chesham are confident that construction work for a new mosque is on schedule despite the recent bad weather.

Although heavy downpours delayed work for nearly two weeks, senior planners say the mosque in Bellingdon Road, Chesham is still on schedule, perhaps even slightly ahead.

Abdul Latif, Chesham Mosque secretary and spokesman, said workmen have been putting in extra hours to try to ensure everything remains on schedule.

He said: "Everything is going according to plan and we are doing our best to stay on schedule despite this appalling weather."

"There were 11 days this month when the workmen had to stop because of the bad weather, but they have been putting in lots of overtime and have caught up in just two weeks.

He added: "We are in a very good position now. We have all the funding in place we need and at a meeting with the planners last Tuesday the civil engineer said he had never seen a mosque which had gone up as quickly and as smoothly as this one.

"We are absolutely delighted."

Chesham's Muslim leaders had hoped to open the £1.3 million mosque at the beginning of next year but Mr Latif said it is highly likely that it will be ready by the end of this year.

A converted property at number 161 to 163 Bellingdon Road currently serves as Chesham Mosque and holds a maximum of 200 people but isn't ideal for worshippers.

The new purpose-built mosque has capacity for more than 700 worshippers and it has its own cemetery.

Mr Latif praised the younger Muslim generation in Chesham for their doorstep collections and fundraising efforts which enabled the community to carry out work on the new mosque's construction.

He said: "Without their help in raising the money none of this would have been possible.

"It is great that the young people are so enthusiastic and that there is a strong Muslim community emerging who will lead us in the future."

These swelling numbers may pose problems yet for Chesham's leaders as they try to fit everyone inside the present mosque for the holy month of Ramadan.

Worshippers pray each evening during the holy month which sees Muslims fast from dawn until dusk.

Mr Latif added: "Nearly everyone attends prayer time at the mosque during the Holy month of Ramadan, and I think we will struggle to accommodate everyone this year, so it's very good news that the new mosque is on the way,"