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New Sikh temple to open in Letchworth with cost of £500,000

Letchworth GC, March 14, 2005

A new £500,000 Sikh temple is to be opened in part of the former Irvin parachute factory in Icknield Way, Letchworth GC.

The Sikh community intends to convert part of the ground and first floor of the main building and the sports and social building as a temple with recreation and social rooms.

The ground floor will become a library/study area with the temple above. The loading bay along the western side will be demolished for car parking, giving a total of 60 spaces. The front of the factory will remain as offices.

North Herts district councillors last week approved the plans unanimously - a verdict that was greeted with delight by the Sikh community.

"We are very pleased with the council's response," said Surjit Singh Basra, who runs a supermarket in Pixmore Avenue. He said it would cost £400,000 to buy the site and a further £100,000 to renovate it but was confident the money could be raised.

"This is for the whole Sikh community in Letchworth and the surrounding villages," said Mr Basra, who lives in Buntingford.

"It will be the only gurdwara with 60 parking spaces on the site, bigger halls and a lot of facilities. The idea is to involve the whole community."

NHDC planning officer Alan Breckon told Letchworth councillors that statistics from Hertfordshire Highways indicated that up to 145 parking spaces should be provided for the site but they would probably be happy with about 100.

"It is not possible to get more than 60 in but a robust green travel plan will bring the number of car parking spaces necessary down and a lot of the community would walk," he said.

Cllr Lorna Kercher said: ""It would be a good use of this building. Having gone round it they have got a rather large task and I wish them luck with that but I wholeheartedly support it."

The new temple will be used for children's classes, social events and weddings, catering for up to 300 people mainly at weekends.

The green travel plan aims to encourage shared use of cars and alternatives such as cycling, walking and using buses.

It is hoped that the new temple will reduce parking problems around the gurdwara in Gernon Walk.

The parking and travel arrangements will be reviewed after six months.

Mr Basra said he hoped the new temple would be open this year.( thecome24)




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