A HINDU charity looking for a home has pleaded senior councillors to consider moving them into a former sports charity building.

Sports Able announced their closure earlier this year due to a shortfall of funding and volunteers, vacating the building in Braywick Park in May.

With the charity gone, the lease of the property was surrendered back to the council as they paid £100,000 towards the construction of the clubhouse.

Talks are ongoing with the council and the Maidenhead Heritage Centre as they have expressed interest in moving into the building as they have “ambitious” plans to expand their museum collections, such as showcasing an old fire engine.

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If a deal is reached, the old heritage centre building in Park Street will be the council’s and will free it up for phase three of the York Road Development, which will deliver 229 new homes, community spaces, and restaurants.

According to the report, other voluntary and community groups have expressed interest in moving into the former Sports Able clubhouse also.

Among those groups is the Maidenhead Hindu Society, who spoke out at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, June 24, begging senior councillors to consider them to move into the Braywick Park building as they need a large facility to accommodate their members and activities.

The charity has been around for 15 years and supports the local Hindu community to meet their cultural, social, and religious needs.

Asian Image: Maidenhead Heritage Centre in Park StreetMaidenhead Heritage Centre in Park Street

Speaking on behalf of the Maidenhead Hindu society, former councillor Hari Sharma said the Sports Able building is a “perfect and convenient place” for them as they need a hub for their community to meet up and coordinate their army of volunteers better.

Mr Sharma said: “We feel having a home for this charity would greatly support our future direction and travel of journey, which would help us to deliver better resources to [the] most vulnerable members of our society.

“I humbly request cabinet to take into consideration our expression of interest for this site before any decision is being made.”

He also said they have submitted two unsuccessful planning applications, costing them about £70,000.

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The leader of the council, councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), said the authority will go back to explore other options if the deal falls through with the heritage centre.

He said: “I am acutely aware of the need to find a suitable home for the Hindu Society of Maidenhead, and I do remain committed to working in partnership with you to explore all future options in a fair, open, and transparent manner.

“But I think that’s certainly a conversation that we do need to pick up again in earnest.”

Cabinet members approved officers’ recommendations to progress talks with the heritage centre where a final agreement and decision will be made by August 31, 2021.