Plans for a new Sikh temple in Northampton have been approved in principle though there are fears worshippers would not be able to evacuate if a nearby fuel depot caught fire.
On Tuesday night councillors on Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee gave an in-principle approval to the proposals for a new Gudwara in St James Mill Road, subject to an independent assessment of the proposal being considered at a future date.
A report by a planning officer said health and safety experts were not satisfied that occupying the building, once used as a Cosworth office building, would be risk-free because of the nearby BP-owned facility.
He said: “It is understood that the crux of these objections is that, if there were to be an incident at the fuel storage depot, there may not be sufficient time to allow for the proposed development to be evacuated.
“Large events could attract visitors who are not familiar with the buildings, its surroundings and the evacuation plan.”
The conversion would include classrooms, a computer room, a library and meeting rooms and could allow weddings.