Public consultation held over Hindu community centre plans

Will Taylor


Plans for a Hindu community centre near Boulters Lock were discussed passionately at a public consultation on Wednesday.

The meeting, at the Thames Hotel in Ray Mead Road, featured a presentation from the Hindu Society of Maidenhead, who said the plans were necessary because they are the ‘only group’ in the town that does not have such a site.

Several people who live near the proposed site, in Lower Cookham Road, objected to the plans and said more cars would appear on their roads and hinder travel.

Seema Sharma, of the society’s working committee, said: “It was a good meeting.

“Obviously, the local residents have got real concerns, such as parking and traffic control.

“We won’t pacify those concerns in one meeting.”

The consultation was held ahead of the society's planning application submission.

It presented floor plans and a 3D projection of what the centre will look like.

The one-storey complex, which would be built next to the Boulters Lock car park, would include a hall and a kitchen for cultural and religious events.

Some of the concerns raised by residents besides parking included suggestions that a Hindu-only centre would be socially divisive, and that extractor fans would cause the smell of Indian food cooked at the centre to spread around the area.

Seema and those in favour of the centre argued the centre would be open for other members of society, and was not meant to be divisive. She said the food cooked at the site would be vegetarian.

Jonathan Baker, of Boulters Lane, was opposed to the site on the grounds of parking and traffic issues, and handed a book around to people to gather names and contact information of those also against the proposal.

The part-time university lecturer stressed he was not opposed to Hindus or the community centre, but was only against where the centre was being built.

He, and others opposing, said the centre should be in the town centre, and said of the current proposal: “It is a residential area.

“That is where we have a problem.”

He said with more cars filling up the streets, travelling down the road would be ‘impossible’.

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