RELIGION: Delight as temple gets green light

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MEMBERS of the city's Sikh community were delighted today – after being given permission to open a new temple.

MEMBERS of the city's Sikh community were delighted today – after being given permission to open a new temple.As reported in The Evening Telegraph yesterday, the Peterborough Bhat Sikh Association will convert the former Barlow Handling building, in Royce Road, Fengate.

The go-ahead was given by councillors at a meeting of Peterborough City Council's planning committee.

The association currently has a temple in Cromwell Road, close to the city centre. But, facilities are limited because the number of worshippers has increased to more than 120, compared to just 26 members, when it first opened in 1975.

Today, community leader Del Singh, who had addressed the meeting explaining the need for the new temple, said: "We are delighted.

"Knowing that we have got somewhere for the future is a weight lifted from our shoulders."

At the meeting, a number of objections were raised about parking at the site of the new temple.

Objections raised at the meeting included parking – the amount of people attending the temple on regular Sundays was only said to be between 20 and 40, but at festivals the number could increase to 120.

Cllr Stephen Goldspink, representing the city's East ward, told the committee the amount of traffic coming and going from the temple would cause problems on nearby Boongate and the Frank Perkins Parkway.

But Cllr Mark Collins said that there would only be traffic on a Sunday, as the temple would be mainly unused during the week, and parking would not be a problem as the site was in a cul-de-sac.

And, he said public transport could be used, as bus stops are located near to the new temple.

The plans for the new site include installing Sunday school classrooms and a day room for elderly people.

The vote to grant permission was almost unanimous, with one councillor abstaining. When the chairman of the committee, Cllr Graham Murphy, announced permission was granted, the members of the Sikh community in the public gallery gasped with relief.

Equality council welcomes result

THE director of Peterborough Racial Equality Council today welcomed the decision to allow a new Sikh temple to be opened in Peterborough.

Harmesh Lakhanpaul said: "I am very pleased.

"The Sikh community in Peterborough has never asked for money from the public purse.

"They have a long tradition of self-help and they are doing all this themselves.

"By moving away from Cromwell Road, they are helping to reduce overcrowding in the area.

"Good luck to them, they have worked hard to achieve this, and I welcome the decision of the committee."