PUBLISHED: 12:06 17 September 2009 | UPDATED: 11:05 23 August 2010
A CONTROVERSIAL decision to allow the demolition of a Sikh temple has been overturned, following a legal challenge by campaigners. Gravesham Borough Council announced last Wednesday, that they will reconsider the planning application for the Siri Guru Na
A CONTROVERSIAL decision to allow the demolition of a Sikh temple has been overturned, following a legal challenge by campaigners.
Gravesham Borough Council announced last Wednesday, that they will reconsider the planning application for the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Clarence Place, Gravesend.
In August the council granted permission to developer Thamesview Living to demolish the building to build 19 flats on the site.
But SAVE Britain's Heritage, a campaign group that fights to save historic buildings, lodged an appeal against the decision in the form of a judicial review.
They also sought an injunction with the developer to prevent the building being demolished while the appeal was in process. The developer agreed in writing not to continue until the legal challenge had been completed.
A spokesperson for Gravesham Borough Council said: "The council will re-determine the planning application for the demolition and redevelopment of the Gurdwara site in Clarence Place, Gravesend.
"The injunction hearing, against the developers, fell because they had agreed not to proceed with the planning consent.
"An application from SAVE for a judicial review of the decision will not go ahead, as the council has decided to redetermine the application."
William Palin, director of SAVE said: "We are delighted that the council has admitted its decision to allow demolition was unlawful and that it will now reconsider this application.
"We hope that the application will be refused and that, instead, the council will encourage a scheme for sympathetic reuse."
Hundreds of Sikhs who have used the venue for decades are expected to move to the new Gurdwara being built in near by Khalsa Avenue.
The Gurdwara management committee decided to sell the building to the developer for about £3 million.
The building was originally built as a congregational church, the architect was Sir John Sulman, who built over 70 churches in this country.
Save argued that the church falls within the Windmill Street conservation area and that it was a landmark building which made a positive contribution to the area. They said its loss would not be outweighed by the public benefits of the new development.
The group also argued that the motive for demolition appeared to purely financial and that there was little evidence that the feasibility for other uses has been investigated properly.