London town hall to become a Hindu temple. Locals protest.

London town hall to become a Hindu temple. Locals protest. February 9, 2018

London’s ITV news reported today that a sizeable protest took place outside Southall Town Hall in West London because the building is to be acquired by a ‘religious organisation’ which was it did not name.
So I did some digging and discovered that Ealing Council, owner of the building, had agreed to grant a 250-year lease to the Visha Hindu Kendra Temple Ltd.

One of the protesters interviewed by ITV expressed his anger that a popular “secular space” used by a variety of organisations in the area would now be lost to them.
A council spokesman said the local authority was strapped for cash, and the money gained from the disposal of the town hall would be used to fund other services.

Among the protesters were members of Southall Black Sisters which claimed in this report that the building was to be sold to a hotelier and the the trustees of the Hindu Temple on Lady Margaret Road.

Our concerns are part of a much wider anxiety about the privatisation and sell-off of key public spaces and community services in Ealing that have come to symbolise inclusion, support and assistance such as Southall Police Station and Ealing Hospital.
These spaces are central to the work of many community groups representing the most vulnerable sections of our society who otherwise would not have access to knowledge and information or the opportunity to participate in community events.
The demise of democratic and secular spaces will only exacerbate the isolation, inequality and marginalisation that is felt by the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities.
As one of our users, a survivor of domestic violence, recently said: ‘it feels as if the local authority is trimming the feathers of a bird and then telling it to fly’.

In a February 2 letter to Ealing Council, SBS’s Pragna Patel said that it “strongly” objected to the sale of the property to:

A religious organisation that has no track record on enhancing community participation, equality and cohesion.

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  • Gaurav Tyagi

    Very poor decision by the Ealing Council. India has been turned into a Hindu fundamentalist nation by the country’s present regime;
    Now it seems that this disease of Hinduism is spreading worldwide.
    Modern India came into existence in 1947. Pakistan was carved out of it and Bangladesh was formed from Pakistan in 1971.
    It makes India; the Father, Pakistan; the Son and Bangladesh; the Grandson.
    This is the condition of the Puke-is-taan, the son;
    I should do a write-up about the Grandson, Bangladesh as well to complete the trilogy.

  • RussellW

    “…the local authority was strapped for cash”
    So, more public assets are alienated from the public.

  • StephenJP

    From a bit of Googling, I see not only that this organisation already appears to have a perfectly adequate building, but also that it has failed to file the financial accounts required by the Charity Commission:
    So what the dickens does Southall Council think it is up to? I hope someone’s keeping an eye on the members of the planning committee, and whether they have declared any interests.

  • Terry

    Are the planners Hindu by any chance. I foresee the mutual annihilation of islam and hinduism will also be played out on the streets of Britain as well as on the subcontinent. Religion is a fatal disease, not bourne by any biological pathogen, but by audio visual transmission of a nasty idea causing self replicating arrangements of neurone connections causing hallucinations, the destruction of critical faculties and powers of reason.

  • AgentCormac

    Sorry to go OT, but Humanists UK (formerly the British Humanist Association) is asking for people to respond to a government consultation on Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in English schools. The objective being to defend the right of children to receive evidence-based and medically accurate relationships and sex education. If you can help with this, simply click on the link below. It will take you to a pre-prepared email and all you have to do is add your name and email address. The consultation closes this weekend at 11.45pm on 12 February 2018. Thanks.

  • Brian Jordan

    the building was to be sold to a hotelier and the the trustees of the Hindu Temple
    Slight error there: the hotelier is getting Ealing Town Hall. For a moment I had a picture of a giant new curry house in Southall!

  • Angela_K

    And of course being a charity and the building used as a “place of worship” they’ll avoid awkward things such as rates/council tax.

  • John the Drunkard

    How will the city government know WHICH ‘Ethnic Community’ to grovel to?
    Selling off public property is a symptom of serious dysfunction. Add to that the transfer of secular facilities into the hands of unaccountable religious organizations?