09:18AM, Thursday 11 January 2018
Opposition to plans to build a Hindu community centre will continue, a Riverside-based community group has vowed.
The Hindu Society of Maidenhead had its application to build the centre, which would host both religious events and activities for the wider community, rejected by the Royal Borough’s councillors in July last year.
It would have been built on a vacant plot of land in Boulters Lock car park, in Lower Cookham Road.
The society has been opposed by the Boulters Riverside Community Interest Company (CIC), which has cited parking and ecological issues and suggested it could be built elsewhere in Maidenhead.
After the plans were rejected by the Maidenhead Development Management Panel, the Hindu
Society lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate near the end of last year.
“We very much want to have this handled with an inquiry given the level of local interest,” Mick Jarvis, from the Boulters Riverside CIC, said.
He added it would mean ‘local people and residents in the borough can have their say’.
Boulters Riverside will meet as a board tomorrow (Friday) to formalise its plan of action. Mick said the group plans to meet with planning consultants and legal representatives to ensure ‘that we have a presence (at the inquiry) that is valid’.
When the Royal Borough councillors rejected the plans, they refused permission on the basis the centre ‘would not be provided with sufficient parking given the size and layout of the building and given the high demand of parking within the area’.
They also said it was not demonstrated that ‘the
proposal would not cause harm to reptiles and great crested newts’.
In 2016, an application for the centre was withdrawn after the Environment Agency objected to it because no flood risk assessment had been carried out. The Hindu Society cited paperwork issues but insisted all surveys required had been completed.
Revised plans were submitted early in the following year.
Speaking of the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, the president of the Hindu Society, Chander Malhotra, said: “We have not done anything wrong, we are not doing anything wrong in the future.
“When everything was done accurately, it should not have gone to this sort of thing.
“We don’t know what is going to happen.”
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