A video revealing Atkins’ plans for the redevelopment of the Masjid al-Haram, the holiest site in Islam, has been leaked on the internet
A number of British architects, including Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid have been approached to draw up plans to increase the capacity of the mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The efforts to regenerate Mecca come as the government struggles to accommodate ever increasing numbers of religious tourists who visit on the Hajj and Umra each year. Official figures state some four million pilgrims visited Mecca in 2007 to perform the Hajj.
The government is looking to increase the number of international visas issued to pilgrims, which will place even greater pressure on the city.