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Towering gate planned for Gravesend temple

PUBLISHED: 15:04 12 January 2011

Site of Marble arch to be built

Site of Marble arch to be built

Archant

Stone will be transported from India to build a 19 metre-high entrance gate to the biggest Sikh temple outside the sub-continent if planning approval is given.

Planning permission for the final touch to the £15million Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend was being discussed by councillors last night.

The gate at the main entrance leading off Saddington Street would be the height of four-and-a-half double-decker buses stacked on top of one another.

Plans are for a concrete frame with marble facade and a white marble and bronze dome which would be visible from Windmill Hill. They were being considered by the council’s regulatory board.

Gurdwara president Swaran Singh told the Reporter that stone for the gateway would come from India.

“It will come from Rajasthan,” he said. “The marble has been used for gurdwaras and for homes. I don’t know yet when construction would start and if there would be a special ceremony.”

Council planning officers are recommending giving the green light for the structure.

In a background briefing document, planners said that the gate “would generally be appropriate for a building of the grandeur and scale of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara to be served by an equally prominent gateway. It is explained in the application that the design of the gateway is based on those found at sites in northern India.

“It may appear on first glance to be excessive in terms of its height as at a total of 19 metres it will project noticeably above nearby buildings.”

The document added: “However, having resolved that the principle for such a structure may be acceptable, its impact on the character of the area and the amenity of adjoining residents needs consideration in order to be able to resolve a formal stance on the matter.”

To gauge the possible impact of the gate, a “cherry picker” platform was put up at the site on September 21 and was viewed from various standpoints.

Planners said: “It confirmed that the gateway structure would not appear overly conspicuous from any wider public viewpoints.” The application includes a bid for permission to build a garage to house a minibus and gardening equipment at the rear of the temple.

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