Public consulation on Bhaktivedanta Manor in Aldenham

Borehamwood Times: Chance for say on future of former Beatle's manor Chance for say on future of former Beatle's manor

Hertsmere residents will be able to have their say on the future of a religious and cultural centre donated by late Beatles band member George Harrison.

From Monday, Hertsmere Borough Council will be running a public consultation on a draft planning brief for Bhaktivedanta Manor in Aldenham.

The manor, which was bought by Mr Harrison and donated to the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in 1972, is used as a temple, shrine and theological college.

It regularly attracts a Sunday congregation of 1,000 followers and on festival days, tens of thousands of visitors flock there.

Previous development at the site has been restricted as the manor is a grade two listed building in a conservation area and the whole estate is in the Green Belt.

The planning brief outlines the construction of an enclosed, purpose-built building called a haveli, which the society hopes will meet the existing needs of its congregation.

The haveli would eliminate the need for marquees to be erected during festivals and ceremonies and would include a new hall for worship, ceremonies, community activities and other cultural performances.

It would include a dining area, reception, kitchen, hospitality room and administrative space, and it would be limited in size to up to 2,000 square metres to minimise its impact on the site.

Three possible locations for the haveli are outlined in the brief, as well as proposals to demolish some of the manor’s existing outbuildings, such as derelict greenhouses, a nursery and a laundry.

Access to the site would be from Hillfield Lane, as it is currently.

If approved the brief will serve as a framework by which future planning applications can be assessed.

The consultation will run for a specially-extended two-month period until September 10.

Two public exhibitions will also be held from 10am to 6pm on July 25 and from 4pm to 8pm on September 3 at the Mercure Hotel on the A41 near Sandy Lane, close to Letchmore Heath.

Members of the public wishing to attend are asked to notify the council in advance.

Councillor Harvey Cohen, Conservative representative, said: "Bhaktivedanta Manor is an important site for ISKCON and the borough of Hertsmere with huge cultural, religious and historical significance.

"This planning brief aims to forge a path forward that will meet the needs of ISKCON, residents and the wider community of Hertsmere, and ensure that all future development on the estate is sustainable and suitable.

"We want the neighbouring community, users and visitors of the manor and anyone with an interest in the site to voice their views, that is why we have extended the consultation period to ensure everyone has an opportunity to take part.

"We hope this planning brief will lead to a development that benefits everyone."

Anyone who lives near the site or has an interest in it will be able to comment on the document, which will be available to view online and at the council’s Civic Office in Elstree Way, Borehamwood, from Monday.

To read the planning brief visit: http://www2.hertsmere.gov.uk/democracy/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=16607.

To contact the planning team email planning@hertsmere.gov.uk or call 020 8207 7558.

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