Old UK Sikh temple demolition plans approved

gravesend-sikh-templeUK: Controversial plans to demolish a Sikh temple and replace it with 19 flats and two houses have been given the go-ahead. Gravesham Council’s regulatory board approved developer Thamesview Living’s scheme for the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Clarence Place, Gravesend, on Wednesday. SAVE, a campaign group for preserving historic buildings, has been fighting to save the 137-year-old building and says the council will “end up being very embarrassed by the decision”.

Director William Palin said: “There are certain tests you must show you have dealt with if you want to knock a building down in a conservation area, such as first putting it on an open market and trying to find alternative use for it.

“We do not feel the council has done this, and our lawyers think there are grounds for a legal challenge to the decision.”

However, chairman of the council’s regulatory board, Councillor Harold Craske, says it took the appropriate steps before making its decision.

He said: “The committee decided that all necessary steps had been taken by the developer to try to sell the building or find alternative use.”

The regulatory board had previously permitted the demolition of the building in July, but decided to reconsider the matter after SAVE launched a legal challenge.

SAVE applied for an injunction against demolition and called for a judicial review into the council decision, but withdrew the applications after the council agreed to reconsider the matter.

It also asked English Heritage to list the temple a Grade II building, which would protect it from demolition, but was rejected.

Mr Palin says SAVE may now again apply for an injunction and call for a judicial review.

Leaders of Gravesend’s Sikh community, the Gurdwara Management Committee, are happy for Thamesview Living to demolish the temple.

Earlier this year the committee sold the building to the developer for £3.1m to raise money for the new £13m temple it is constructing in Khalsa Avenue.

General secretary Narinder Singh, 56, says it had been trying to sell the building for re-use for two years before accepting Thamesview Living’s offer.

Source: Michael Purton, News Shopper

2 comments

  1. WJKWJF.

    The organisation “Save” wanted to preserve the Clarence place building on the grounds that it is a characteristic building.
    The fact remains that the original lead glass windows, roof, stone masonry work have all been replaced with modern standard alternatives and as such there is no “characteristic” element to preserve.

    My biggest sorrow is to see a Gurdwara Sahib where, for over forty years, sat Sangat has taken place and now that land will house apartments where tobacco, alcohol, and other anti social activity will take place.

    The Sikh community in Gravesend does not possess the financial power to retain this building.

    Perhaps external intervention from the Sikh community as a whole could intervene in order to prevent Gurdwara buildings from being sold?

    The Sikh nation is well established financially, around the world, and as such we give money to Amritsar especially where there is an abundance of income already. We don’t seem to attach the same reverence to local Gurdwaras.

    WJKWJF.

    Makhan Singh.

  2. Jagjit Singh Mukandpuri

    Sat Sri Akal to all, I often wonder that there is very big difference in we Sikhs and the other nations, particularly of Europe and the other Western world.They not only save but preserve the old Historical Buildings, because these buildings are a living prove of the past history, but we Sikhs has demolished all our history related with Guru Sahiban and other Sikh Warriors on the name of Kar Seva. The new and big building can be built on a new and near by site as is done in southhall. I have seen in USA, they even do not cut a tree. To demolish the old ones which it self becomes a historical is a great in justice with the future generations.Can they believe, which they have not seen?

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