Plan for building Slough to become a religious place of worship

Residents have filed objections against plans to convert a listed building for religious purposes.

The Old Barn on Cippenham Lane in Slough, a Grade II listed freestanding building dating from the 17th century, is currently being purchased by a registered charity with the aim of using it for prayer and daily rituals.

The building, which was once a trading office but has been vacant since 2019, is proposed for use by Jain’s – an ancient Indian religious group which the claimant says teaches worshipers “how to live a peaceful life”.

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The prayer lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, which is mainly done individually, except for two to three days a year – notably during the main Jain festival which takes place in August, Paryushana Parva, where they expect 30 to 40 people pray together.

The hours of use offered are Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., as well as from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The plans also call for landscaping work, involving the widening of the access road, in addition to increasing the number of parking spaces from 13 to 17 and providing bicycle racks.

Two applications had to be submitted, one for a change of use and a second for the authorization for classified construction.

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A Slough Borough Council officer said the plan could be seen as acceptable ‘in principle’ as it would ‘attract positive weight in terms of the future use and upkeep of the listed building’, but raised concerns about the potential impact on local amenities and highways.

Nearby residents objected to the plans for reasons including the lack of a consultation period, increased traffic, and the potential for noise.

One resident said he was ‘not fully informed’ of the plans before the application was submitted and called it ‘an absolute disgrace’ that it was considered.

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Another pointed to a temple less than half a mile down Bath Road which “could possibly facilitate” the group, as well as the potential increase in noise, parking overflow into Bennetts Close and concerns about how which would benefit the local economy.

A Slough Borough Council spokesperson said: “Both applications remain under review. There are a number of respondents at the local level and their views will be taken into account accordingly.

‘The applicant’s agent has agreed to extend the time for determination as it seeks to resolve the various issues raised by Council, as the local planning authority and road authority. Each application will be determined on its merits in due course.

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