Plan to convert Northampton Sikh Gurdwara into house for 17 people meets objections
A plan to renovate a Sikh Gurdwara in Northampton to create rooms for 17 tenants has met with concerns from environmental health and a conservation group.
The St George's Street building, in Semilong, is being replaced with a new purpose-built facility, which is currently under construction in St James.
Although it is still used as a place of worship, it is no longer owned by the Sikh community and the building's new owners have now submitted a planning application asking for the go-ahead to create 17 bedrooms, over four floors.
But the Northampton Town Centre Conservation Advisory Group, an independent organisation, said the plans might cause annoyance to neighbours.
Chair Sue Biddle said: "[There are] concerns regarding the building impact of HIMOs with the increase of traffic flow, car parking, rubbish collection and fly tipping, and the social stability of the area.
"We recommend refusal of this application."
The architects' drawings for the project take in the ground floor, first floor, second floor and basement.
Environmental health officer Matt Clough said he could not support the plan for eight separate reasons, mainly to do with fire safety and cramped conditions.
Drawings suggest that the basement bedrooms would have no windows that could be opened, and areas of the second floor would have ceiling heights of less than two metres.
Commenting on the basement bedrooms, he added: "Both basement bedrooms are inner rooms to the kitchen, living room and dining room.
"Scrutiny of the block plan appears to show the internal courtyard connects only with the premises at 17a St Georges Street.
"It therefore does not lead to a place of safety."
The move to a new £3 million community-funded facility in St James Mill Road with over 100 parking spaces, was set in motion in 2012 after the community outgrew the current buildings, with a shortage of internal space and car parking spaces required for large functions such as weddings, funerals or celebrations.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article said that the building was still owned by Sikh leaders. We have been asked to make it clear that this is not the case and the Sikh community no longer has any responsibility for the building and the building has new ownership. We are happy to clarify the situation and apologise for any upset caused.