London (United Kingdom), January 3, 2013: A religious organisation hoping to build a three-storey temple in Barnet say it would become “a gift” to the area and a major tourist attraction.
The Jain Centre, the London headquarters of the Jainism faith, is looking to demolish its existing offices in Colindale Avenue, Colindale, and replace it with a community centre and temple.
Leaders of the Indian faith, which preaches non-violence and community harmony, are hoping the temple will serve some of the 11,000 Jains currently living in Barnet, Brent Cross and Harrow.
Barnet Borough Council’s planning committee is set to assess the plans next Wednesday and officers have already recommended them for approval.
But neighbours have entered objections to the development and submitted a 70-signature petition opposing the plans.
They argue the building would be an eyesore and fear the additional visitors would cause parking and traffic issues.
Jain Centre chairman Natubhai Shah believes the development would have a positive impact on the wider community.
He said: “We’ve done a similar thing in Leicester and it has become a major attraction. It will be a beautiful temple with grand marble architecture. We want it to become a tourist attraction for Barnet – we have nothing like that in the borough right now.
“Jain means justice and equality for all and love for all. Our aim is to cleanse our own soul. This will be a facility for mental and spiritual enlightenment and a place the whole community can use.
“It will be our gift to the London Borough of Barnet and we want the whole community to be a part of it.”
Centre leaders say they sent out more than 100 letters inviting neighbours to see the plans and give their comments but Dr Shah said no-one turned up.
He said: “Parking is not an issue – we will have 14 spaces at the centre and a traffic survey shows there is sufficient provision in neighbouring roads.
“We want people to come and see what the plans are and to use the centre when it is hopefully built. It is for the whole community and the aim is to help everyone become more prosperous and enjoy a better quality of life.” – Article Courtesy: Chris Hewett, times-series.co.uk