Residents have lodged objections against plans for a Listed Building to be converted for religious purposes.
The Old Barn on Cippenham Lane in Slough, a detached Grade II listed building which dates back to the 17th Century, is currently being purchased by a registered charity with the aim of using it for daily prayer and rituals.
The building, which was formerly a commercial office but has been vacant since 2019, is proposed to be used by Jain’s – an ancient Indian religious group that the applicant says teaches devotees “how to live a peaceful lifestyle”.
Prayer lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, which is mostly done individually except for two to three days in a year – namely during the Jain’s main festival that takes place in August, Paryushana Parva, when they expect 30 to 40 people to pray together.
The proposed hours of use are Monday to Friday from 7am to 10am and 5pmto 8pm, as well as from 7am to 8pm on Saturday and Sunday.
The designs also outline plans for landscaping works, involving the widening of the access road, in addition to increasing the number of car parking spaces from 13 to 17 and providing bike racks.
Two applications were required to be submitted, one for a change of use and a second for Listed Building consent.
A Slough Borough Council officer said that plan could be considered acceptable “in principle” as it would “attract positive weight in terms of a future use and upkeep of the listed building” but did note concerns over the potential impact on local amenities and highways.
Nearby residents have objected to the plans for reasons including not being provided with a consultation period, the increase in traffic and the potential for noise.
One resident said they “have not been fully informed” of the plans in advance of the application being submitted and called it “an absolute disgrace” that it is being considered.
Another pointed to a temple located less than half a mile away on Bath Road which “could possibly facilitate” the group, as well as the potential increase in noise, parking overspill into Bennetts Close and concerns about how it would benefit the local economy.
A spokesperson for Slough Borough Council said: “The two applications remain under consideration. There are a number of respondents locally and their views will be taken into account accordingly.
“The applicant’s agent has agreed to extend the time for determination, as they seek to address the various issues raised by the Council, as Local Planning Authority and Highway Authority. Each application will be determined on their merits in due course.”