Plans to build a three storey community centre and temple in Colindale were given the go-ahead tonight.
The Jain Centre in Colindale Avenue will be demolished and replaced with a new building consisting of a temple as well as conference rooms, a dining area and flats for staff.
Mark Herbert of Ansell and Bailey architects told tonight’s west area planning sub-committee how the plans offered an opportunity to create a “community building” that would benefit the local area as well as people of the Jainism faith who live further afield.
The centre is currently the London headquarters of the Jainism faith which aims to extend its presence in the borough.
Leaders of the Indian faith, which preaches non-violence and community harmony, are hoping the temple will serve some of the 11,000 Jains currently living in Barnet, Brent Cross and Harrow.
However the plans sparked irritation among neighbours who are concerned the new centre will increase traffic and parking problems in nearby residential streets such as Cecil Road.
Julie Clark, who has lived in Cecil Road for 29 years, said: “When there are events at evenings or weekends there’s a constant flow of traffic in the road.
“It’s inconveniencing the residents who regularly have their cars blocked-in or have to park in neighbouring roads. It’s unfair.
“They’re squeezing into a small cul-de-sac. Emergency vehicles can’t even get into the road - it’s a dangerous situation.”
Janaka Siriwardena, who has lived in the road for six years, added: “I’m concerned about the overbearing nature of this building. It will dominate the area and it’s not really in-keeping with the surrounding buildings.
“It would compromise the privacy of residents and would overshadow at least 16 dwellings. But my main concern is the traffic and safety. It’s downright dangerous.”
Ward councillor for the area Gill Sargeant supported the plans but said something must be done to bring a compromise between the Jain Centre and its neighbours.
The plans were subsequently approved. Cllr Sargeant will be arranging a meeting for members of the Jain Centre and residents to discuss any issues they have.