11:27AM, Wednesday 12 December 2012
The Hindu Society of Maidenhead is eagerly waiting to hear if a former nursery school can be used as the society's new community centre in the town.
The society which meets once a month in the school hall at St Pirans School in Gringer Hill in Maidenhead, wants to use the council-owned building at 29 Lincoln Road in Maidenhead as a centre. The building was formerly used for Agnes Hayward Nursery School. It has been empty since the school was closed in August 2009 after it went into liquidation.
Maidenhead has a number of churches, a Sikh Gurdwara (temple) and a synagogue for the Jewish community but has no mandir (temple) for Hindus. The nearest mandir to Maidenhead is Slough Hindu Temple in Keel Drive, Chalvey and Reading Hindu Temple in Basingstoke Road.
The Hindu Society of Maidenhead, formed seven years ago, has been fundraising for its own building for years. It wants a place of worship and a base for cultural and family activities. It started a petition in 2010 for a permanent base in the town.
Monthly meetings at St Pirans happen on the first Sunday of the month. They involve prayers followed by activities such as performances for children and conclude with a vegetarian lunch. MP and Home Secretary joins in with the society's Diwali celebrations and last week members celebrated Christmas with activities for children.
The society has now nominated the vacant former school building to be listed as an 'asset of community value.'
This is the third site in the Royal Borough and the first in Maidenhead to be nominated under the government’s new community right to bid legislation. The council now has eight weeks to consider whether the nomination meets the specified criteria.
If approved, there will be six weeks in which any community group is welcome to express an interest in the building. There is then a period of up to six months in which the property cannot be sold, enabling community groups to prepare their bid.
Chander Maholtra, president of the Hindu Society of Maidenhead who is also the owner of Sweet Price in Queen Street, said: “We nominated the property as it is an ideal site to remain in community use. If we were the successful bidders it would make travelling and the related costs much easier for our 150 member families who at present travel to Slough to attend the temple.”
Other community groups can express an interest in the site by contacting the borough.
All lines are currently blocked between Reading and London Paddington stations due to a person being hit by a train.