Temple expansion plans in Willesden placed on hold by councillors
PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 June 2013
The Shree Swaminarayan Temple plans to build an underground car park and accommodation
Controversial plans to extend a Hindu temple in Willesden have been put on hold after councillors failed to reach a decision on its future.
More than 100 people packed a meeting of Brent Council’s planning committee last week to see councillors go against the advice of their own planning officers to reject the application.
Supporters of the Shree Swaminarayan Temple, on the corner of Willesden Lane and Deerhurst Road, held a demonstration outside Brent Town Hall where the heated meeting took place.
The Temple wants to extend the back of the building, build a two-level underground car park and demolish three houses in Deerhurst Road to make way for 14 care home units, six elderly and visitor accommodation units and 14 self-contained flats.
Opposition to the £10m development is mounting from residents in the Temple’s vicinity.
Brent Council’s website has attracted 182 comments with the vast majority voicing objections.
George Binney, chairman of Chatsworth Area Residents Organisation, said: “CARO is very disappointed that councillors did not apply planning law but let themselves be swayed by political and emotional pressure from the Temple. Almost everyone in this area opposes this.”
The main grievance centres on traffic volume and parking, particularly when the Temple holds special events and festivals.
Mr Binney added: “We have had excellent relationships with them, we value them as a neighbour, but this is just a step too far – it’s just too big.”
Betty Ratcliffe, of Coverdale Road, where the Temple gardens back on to, believes the decision to defer the application is ‘unusual’ and residents were ‘not being considered’.
A temple spokesman said they were amending the application to meet council requirements.
He added: “If they (temple goers) park the wrong way they (residents) should call the police. Don’t come to us.”
A spokesman for Brent Council told the Times the planning application has not as yet been scheduled for a future planning meeting.