07:56AM, Friday 04 October 2013
Members of the Hindu community are to discuss their next move after the Royal Borough rejected proposals to bring a cultural community centre to Maidenhead.
The council has also been called upon to work closely with Hindus in the town to find a suitable location for a permanent base after plans to build a multi-purpose facility and temple in Lincoln Road were narrowly refused at a planning meeting on Wednesday, September 25.
The Hindu Society of Maidenhead (HSM) had put forward ambitious plans to redevelop the council-owned former Agnes Hayward Nursery School site but were met with opposition from nearby residents who raised concerns about issues including suitability, parking, traffic, noise and disturbance.
The proposals were rejected at the packed meeting, in Maidenhead Town Hall, after councillors raised fears about the growing number of people who may use the site in future years, the residential nature of the road and a lack of suitable parking.
But there was also widespread support for the principle of bringing a Hindu community centre to the town.
Cllr Claire Stretton (Con, Boyn Hill) called for a town centre location to be found, while Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) added: "We'd love to do it in many ways but if it's the wrong place it would be the wrong decision to make."
Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) warned the Lincoln Road site 'could be as good as it gets' and added: "If it's not this site we clearly need to work with the Hindu community to try to find another site."
Speaking after the meeting, he said any council land presented as an alternative would have to go through a competitive buying process but added: "The hunt is on to try and find a site for them."
HSM chairman Chander-Mohan Malhotra, speaking after the meeting, said the society's options will be discussed in the next couple of weeks.
"Our requirements are still there and we still have to work on it. We are obviously very disappointed with the panel decision," he said.
"If something better comes along we will go for that."
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