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Author Topic: Sikhs find a new home in the city  (Read 732 times)

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Sikhs find a new home in the city
« on: January 10, 2012, 04:44:46 PM »
OXFORD’s Sikh community has finally found a building to turn into a permanent home.

They were previously thrown out of a three-bedroom house in Cherwell Drive, Marston, after using it as a temple without permission.

In 2010 they were ordered to move after permission was denied to use it as a place of worship.

It came after complaints about parking and noise.

Now they have been given the opportunity to move into the former Sharp & Howse building in London Road, Headington, which has been empty for two years.

Pargan Singh, of Cherwell Drive, said: “We are optimistic about this building becoming a temple.

“It is owned by someone in the Sikh community and we have agreed to buy it once the planning application goes through.”

Mr Singh belongs to a Sikh group known as Oxford Sri Guru Singh Sabha, which has been going for about 40 years.

The shop is on the corner of Northfield Road and Mr Singh has applied to change part of it into a place of worship for up to 35 people.

A 10-space car park is also included in the plans.

In 2006 the city’s Sikh community moved into 69 Cherwell Drive and then put up an extension which was used as a congregation room without consent for either.

Cherwell Drive resident Neil Holdstock said: “The use of 69 Cherwell Drive as a temple caused a huge impact on local residents mainly due to parking and noise.

“Locating a temple in a house in the middle of a residential street without the correct planning permission was never going to be received well in such a tight-knit community without proper consultation.”

The Sikhs moved out in May last year and have since been using St Nicholas School in Marston for their weekly prayer meetings.

Oxford’s nearest Sikh temples are in Banbury, Swindon and Slough.

Referring to the new site, Mr Singh said: “It is definitely bigger and better than Cherwell Drive.

“It is also more accessible for people who want to use public transport and we aren’t going to cause any problems for the residents.

“We are excited about this.”

If it becomes a place of worship it will not involve any change to the outward appearance of the building.

A date for a decision by Oxford City Council has not yet been set.

* City councillors have given permission for the conversion of the garage at 69 Cherwell Drive into a one-bedroom house. The decision, which was made last month, was despite concerns from residents about the effect it would have on neighbouring houses and the lack of parking.

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