CLAIMS the site of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies was once a pig farm have had “no bearing” on its delayed opening.

Rumours the Marston Road centre was built on former pig farming land have been dismissed as an urban myth.

But residents, who claim to remember feeding pigs there, have now found a map they believe proves its existence.

Pigs are considered as haram, or forbidden, in the Islamic faith, and eating pork or coming into contact with pigs is taboo.

Richard Makepeace, registrar of the centre, said the delayed opening had no connection to the rumours, but was about ensuring the building was right.

The centre was originally due to open in 2004, at a cost of £60m, but the date has been put back several times. Work stopped when trustees found they were £25m short of the funding needed.

Contributions for the project have come from governments of Muslim countries, including Kuwait, Turkey, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia and the building is now set to open next year.

Betty Fletcher, who now lives in Stockleys Road, Northway, said she remembers swinging on the farm’s gate when she was a little girl, looking at the pigs.

Ms Fletcher, 69, added: “It wasn’t a myth. There was a piggery there and now we can prove it. “ Croft Road resident Mick Haines said he spent hours at the city’s libraries looking through old maps and reading about the site in Oxfordshire history books.

He added: “It’s not a myth, and it’s not just people trying to make trouble.

“The Ordnance Survey map, dated 1898, shows King’s Mill Farm, which definitely had a piggery as well as fruit trees.

“One lady who lives in Marston said her dad used to work on the farm when the pigs were kept there.”

Mr Makepeace has previously said he believed the story was “an urban myth” and dismissed it as a “rumour”.

He added: “We have no comment to make on these stories, true or false.

“They have no bearing on the construction programme, which is proceeding as planned.”