Only Hindu temple in Cambridge under threat of closing

Tuesday 08th October 2019 14:12 EDT

On 1st October, Tuesday, reports surfaced of the only Hindu temple in Cambridge being under the threat of closing as the County Council looks to repossess the Grade II listed building.

The building off Mill Road was leased to the Indian Community and Culture Association (ICCA) free of charge for 20 years. The council says the building has now fallen into disrepair, and as there is no funding to keep it going they have no choice but to end the lease.

This move has caused concern as the five thousand Hindu's in the city could be left without a place of worship. The next nearest temple is 40 miles away in Peterborough.

"Taking away a place of worship is denying the Hindu community in Cambridge our freedom to worship,” said Rajni Padia, secretary of the ICCA.

"At the moment we are celebrating all the Hindu religious ceremonies by hiring out various halls in Cambridge which we have to pay now as we can't use our shrine.

"It is very very sad, people are not happy, our community is not happy." 

Padia said since moving into the central Cambridge building, the organisation had spent between £200,000 and £250,000 on its upkeep. Both groups have failed to reach an agreement and they will now go to court at the end of October.

Josh Schumann, chairman of the council's commercial and investment committee, told the BBC that the authority had no other vacant buildings to offer as an alternative.

"Our issue here is that we have been almost too accommodating to the ICCA, believing repeated assurances that they will be able to keep the building in good order.

"We have done this in all good faith, but sadly we now have to act to protect the fabric of this building which is an asset which we hold in trust for all of the people of Cambridgeshire."

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