PART of a road near the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, north London, will be renamed after the Indian saint whose idea it was to build the project, writes Adam Shaw.
On Monday (12), Brent Council’s cabinet approved an application by the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, also known as Neasden Temple, to change a section Meadow Garth to Pramukh Swami Road.
His Holiness Param Pujya Pramukh Swami Maharaj was president of the Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Shri Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS), the organisation behind the Neasden Temple. He died in 2016 aged 94.
The council acknowledged the temple’s position as a “international landmark” in Brent, as well as its contribution to the borough.
Despite some objections, councillor Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, said overall, the name change would be a positive step.
He said: “We are at a juncture in society where we will be discussing a whole host of community issues.
“Brent has always been a welcoming community – its diversity makes it unique and is what makes it such a successful borough.
“Recognising the achievements of all our communities is one of the ways we can create a cohesive society.”
Councillor Krupesh Hirani, who represents Dudden Hill ward, welcomed the application, describing the temple – the largest Hindu temple in Europe – as “part and parcel” of Brent and a site of global significance.
He added it was good to see a road name change linked to a “positive contribution” rather than those associated with negative history.
Among those who resisted the change was a resident living in Meadow Garth who said it would be “grossly disrespectful” to her and her neighbours to rename part of the street.
While she acknowledged the temple’s contribution to the community and its offer of compensation to those affected by any change, she said it would be a “great inconvenience” and could contribute to an “increase in anxiety” due to the associated hassle.
Representatives from Brentfield Primary School warned that any change would split its address and suggested it “does not reflect our community or the school community”.
The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority said the spelling and pronunciation of the proposed new name “could cause confusion and possible delay in the event of an emergency”.