“We feel extraordinarily proud at this historic moment as we look forward to creating a welcoming hub at Court Place Farm which will strengthen community cohesion, widen participation and serve the local community with activities, workshops and an inclusive community place once all details are finalised,” said Dr Gian Gopal, Founding Chairman of the Oxford Hindu Temple Project, as the local council green-lit plans for a permanent new temple and community centre in Oxfordshire.
The council-owned sports pavilion changing rooms at Court Place Farm, Marston, will be converted into the new Temple and Community Centre complex, subject to finalising details on the lease, the council said. Oxford City Council said the project has been in discussion with the Hindu temple over a number of years to meet its aspiration for a permanent site and was given planning permission recently.
Councillor Shaista Aziz, the council’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: "Oxfordshire’s Hindu community have been working hard to establish a permanent base of their own for many years and the approval of this planning application is great news for all the campaigners and fundraisers who have got the project to this point.
“The City Council and OHTCC (Oxford Hindu Temple and Community Centre) will now focus on finalising the details of the lease so we can all look forward to the new centre opening and starting to deliver community benefit."
The council said it marketed Court Place Farm pavilion last year and the Hindu Temple bid for it through an open market process.
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Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, noted: “I’m absolutely delighted that another milestone in the foundation of the new Hindu Temple and Community Centre has been reached.
“The old football changing rooms at Court Place Farm have been unused and derelict for many years and the newly approved plans propose to make fantastic use of the site, creating Oxfordshire’s only Hindu Temple as well as a community hub offering activities to the wider public.”
The OHTCC named Labour MP and shadow minister Anneliese Dodds, Leader of the Oxford City Council Susan Brown and councillors Aziz and Smith as being “instrumental” in bringing about the project to this point. It is also organising several fundraising events including a summer party this weekend to raise funds for the new temple complex.
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