‘LOVE not hate’ – that’s the message from the Mayor of Worcester in response to a far-right group's plans to protest in the city.

The English Defence League (EDL) intends to demonstrate in the city centre in opposition to plans for a £3million mosque in Worcester.

Worcester Muslim Welfare Association revealed its striking designs for the mosque, in Stanley Road, Worcester, in May.

West Mercia Police said it is carrying out work to make sure that the city is prepared for the EDL rally on Saturday, July 21.

City councillor Jabba Riaz, the Mayor of Worcester, said: "I'm not in any rush to respond to the proposed EDL rally on the 21st.

"We are a calm, peaceful and tolerant city and will respond having considered all the facts, consulting other faith and city leaders.

"My theme is love not hate this year."

The EDL expressed opposition to the proposed mosque in an article published on its website.

It states: "The purpose of a mosque is to spread the religion and power of Islam.

"The Islamic ideology is in direct competition to other belief systems and it hopes one day to crush them, violently if need be, and put those church leaders out of a job and convert their churches into mosques.

"There cannot be any harmony, in the long term, with such a belief system.

"They seek converts and when they get enough followers they will seek political power."

Superintendent Damian Pettit, police commander for south Worcestershire, said officers were aware of a social media post advertising the demonstration.

He added: "We are in talks with them (the EDL) to understand their intentions, and will be working with a range of partnership agencies to make sure we put a proportionate and appropriate response in place.”

A spokesman from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) said it appeared the protest had been organised in partnership with the Democratic Football Lads Alliance.

UAF added that it would organise a counter protest if the march went ahead.

Worcester Muslim Welfare Association plans to relocate its mosque from Tallow Hill to Stanley Road as part of the planned development.

The current mosque only has enough prayer space for 500 people, whereas the new building would be able to take up to around 1,300 worshippers.

It would be built on top of the old Stanley Road School car park.

The association also hopes to construct apartments and a new sports centre at the site.

A planning application for the project has not yet been submitted.

The EDL protest will take place in Worcester city centre at 1.30pm on July 21, according to the group's website.