Norwich's only Thai Buddhist temple seeking new home after being served enforcement notice by council
PUBLISHED: 11:45 10 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:45 10 May 2017
Norwich's only Thai Buddhist temple is seeking a new home after being served an enforcement notice by the council.
The Wat Arun Norfolk UK temple opened in June last year inside a four-bedroom family home in Hellesdon, north of the city.
But in December it was told by Broadland District Council to cease using the property as a place of worship.
It followed complaints about parking and the number of people visiting the house at any one time.
Now, Norfolk’s Thai community is looking to find a new location for its temple.
A spokesman for Wat Arun Norfolk UK said: “We are looking to move, but we haven’t found a suitable place to go yet.
“The enforcement notice does not mean we need to move out, but it means we cannot use it as a temple.”
The temple - located at the end of a cul-de-sac on Orchard Drive - was told it must comply with the enforcement notice by April 30.
Broadland said the notice was served due to the level of activity “exceeding” what the council thought was incidental to a home.
A spokesman for Wat Arun said the property was no longer used as a place of worship, adding it was “very strict” about the activity at the house.
Broadland said it was working closely with the group to find a “suitable alternative property”.
But a council spokesman said any new property would need to already have planning permission for religious activity use.
Alternatively, the temple would have to apply for such permission.
“The council has the option to prosecute the temple for not complying with the notice,” the spokesman said.
“However, we have been in discussion recently with those at the temple to attempt to find a suitable alternative property.
“As they keep the planning enforcement department updated regularly, the council does not feel it is necessary to take further action at this time, but the case is still active and being monitored.”
Shelagh Gurney, who represents the Hellesdon Ward on Norfolk County Council, said: “On this occasion, I do feel given some of the issues that have arisen in terms of parking, road obstruction and resident concerns from the area, that it is not the most suitable location.”