Temple demolition slammed as 'tragic'
PUBLISHED: 15:29 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:00 23 August 2010
AN organisation that campaigns to save historic buildings has launched a legal challenge to prevent the demolition of a Sikh temple. Earlier this month, the Reporter revealed that Gravesham Borough Council gave developer Thamesview Living permission to d
AN organisation that campaigns to save historic buildings has launched a legal challenge to prevent the demolition of a Sikh temple.
Earlier this month, the Reporter revealed that Gravesham Borough Council gave developer Thamesview Living permission to demolish the Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara.
The temple in Clarence Place, Gravesend, will be replaced with 19 flats and two houses.
But national heritage group Save is calling for a judicial review of the decision, made by the regulatory board of the council.
It has been granted an injunction preventing the demolition of the building until further notice.
William Palin, director of Save, said: "The council have the option of quashing the consent that was granted, and we are very much hoping that they can do that.
"We feel we have a particularly strong case that will stop the demolition of this historic building."
The building, a Sikh temple since 1968, is owned by the Sikh community, and is in the process of being sold to the developer for an estimated £3 million.
The Guru Nanak Day Centre, in The Grove, Gravesend, will also be sold to the developer.
Built in 1872, the temple was the former Milton Congregational Church. It was designed by Sir John Sulman, responsible for more than 70 churches across the country.
Mr Palin said: "We think the decision to permit this demolition is contrary to the council's conservation policy, laid out in a recent conservation area appraisal.
"Given the damage inflicted on Gravesend during the Blitz and later as a result of post-war, road-led development, the decision to condemn this building seems all the more tragic and shortsighted."
A High Court hearing on September 4 will decide whether the injunction preventing demolition of the building can be extended.
A council spokesperson said: "We believe the planning permission was granted properly and democratically after a lengthy consideration of all the issues. We will wait to see the outcome of all the court proceedings.