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Buddhists may be told to move out of house
BUDDHIST monks who set up home in Crays Hill could have to move out after parish councillors objected to plans to create a fully-fledged temple.
In June the Echo revealed the Mahamevnawa International Meditation Centre, a Sri Lankan branch of the religion, had applied for planning permission for the temple at a property in Hardings Elms Road, which they have renamed Dhamma Land.
Bhuddists have already been holding gatherings of up to 80 people there, but have been told they need planning permission to create a permanent one.
A decision on their application will be made by Basildon Council, but parish councillors say the location is not suitable. Tina Borer, a Ramsden Crays parish councillor, said: “I am concerned about traffic and congestion.”
Andy Peake, parish council chairman, said: “It is an unsuitable location.”
The religious group, which bought the five-bedroom house for £700,000 in March 2011, has agreed with the neighbouring Belvedere pub they can use parking spaces in its car park at weekends.
However, the pub could soon become a care home.
David McPherson-Davis, another parish councillor, said: “If that happens what will become of the parking arrangement? Will they have to park on the property? They say there will be about 20 vehicles, but I suspect there will be more. “There are also safety concerns with about 80 people being in the building.”
In its planning application the Buddhists say there will be few visitors during the week and services will only take place on the first Sunday of each month.
It states visits will be made to the house to “bring and offer food to the resident monks” twice daily, before 6.30am and then before midnight.
The organisation says services will be open to anyone from the community, including meditation classes used by the monks.