Northampton

Northampton council studies faith group needs

A new study into the need for more places of worship in Northampton is to be carried out by the borough council.

Planners at the Conservative-run council are talking to representatives of Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jewish and Sikh faiths.

The aim is to understand how different faiths are represented, issues they face and what facility needs they have.

Opposition Lib Dems questioned the need for a new study as one was done about two years ago.

Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said the study was part of the regular planning process.

'Building relationships'

"Our faith communities form an important part of community life," he said.

"They are often involved in many projects to help people and make our town a better place to live in.

"This study will improve our understanding of our faith communities and help to focus on building stronger relationships so we work together more effectively."

Any cost for the study would come out of the overall budget for the planning process.

"We have to be aware of our future needs, what are the opportunities to convert unused buildings, or where should we be planning for new facilities?

"We talk to all sectors of the community such as representatives of business, charities, road users, housing providers, medical services and others," Mr Hadland said.

Communities 'stable'

Planners compile the information which is then collated for the town's strategic development plan which becomes part of the overall West Northamptonshire plan covering Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Daventry.

Brendan Glynane, Lib Dem councillor and member of the overview and scrutiny committee, said: "The last study resulted in the go-ahead for a Hindu temple and I know the Muslim community want a purpose-built mosque.

"I feel this is window dressing because these communities are fairly stable and the reports from previous studies are still available.

"All they have to do is consult these and get on with it."

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