In light of the news that Harrow’s Sri Ayyappan Kovil Temple—a Hindu temple on Masons Avenue—has been granted planning permission by Harrow Council’s planning committee to grow the site, we spoke to Anpan Thiagesapillai, project lead at the temple, who has described the approval as a ‘great journey for the temple’.
The planning permission granted will allow the temple to expand by 200sqm. Thiagesapillai noted that the lack of space was a key reason for seeking planning permission: ‘The temple has applied for planning permission twice during the last ten years, without much joy’.
‘One of the main reasons the temple wanted to get the planning permission is the lack of space at the temple premises (the first floor), as well as there being no alternative exit when an emergency occurs’.
There are many activities that the temple is involved in, which is also a strong case for the expansion:
‘The temple volunteers and takes an active part within the Wealdstone action group, and we are involved in a number of community related projects. We also conduct weekly meditation and yoga classes and held a crime prevention seminar at the temple along with Wealdstone police and the local community’
So how did this all come about? Thiagesapillai said that the temple trustees supported the planning permission in early 2018 and kickstarted the process in May 2018.
‘We formed a project team and the pre-planning application was presented and approved by Harrow Council. The temple then followed the pre-planning parameters set by the council and submitted the full planning application at the end of 2018. Then, the temple was awarded the full planning permission in May 2019’.
Speaking about the impact this planning permission will have on the temple-goers and the trustees, Thiagesapillai said: ‘This has been a great journey for the temple, where all the devotees and trustees supported and waited patiently for the last 13 months’.
By Varsha Patel.