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Cambridge temple archway wins planning permission for park installation



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One man’s dream to save a carved temple arch that was set to be thrown in a skip has come true after he was granted planning permission to install it in public gardens.

Hairdresser Piero D’Angelico was horrified when he discovered a beautiful stone archway in the former Bharat Bhavan Hindu temple on Mill Road was going to be smashed to pieces by Cambridgeshire County Council contractors when they cleared the building.

Piero D'Angelico is trying to save the carvings in former Hindu temple / Mill Road library . Picture: Keith Heppell. (56702717)
Piero D'Angelico is trying to save the carvings in former Hindu temple / Mill Road library . Picture: Keith Heppell. (56702717)

So he offered to buy the artwork and has kept it in storage for over a year while campaigning to give it a new home in the neighbourhood. Now he has won planning permission to erect the stone archway in the gardens of Ditchburn Place sheltered housing scheme and he is trying to raise the £15,000 to complete the project.

Piero said: “I’m delighted to have been able to save this stone archway for the community but I need more help from volunteers to apply for grants that could fund the work to install the stones. If anyone has that kind of experience, I would love to hear them. Or if anyone feel they can donate towards the project, that would be great.

How the temple arch would look when installed outside. Pic: by Zoran Hadzhiivanov and Skyla Wang (56702704)
How the temple arch would look when installed outside. Pic: by Zoran Hadzhiivanov and Skyla Wang (56702704)

“When I first saw the archway in the former temple I knew it was of a really high quality because my grandfather was a stonemason and I grew up learning from him in his workshop. It was such a shame for the Hindu community to have to leave it behind when they left the temple and I want to save it so it is something for everyone to enjoy. I think Ditchburn Place will be a perfect spot for it and we have some Anglia Ruskin design students involved to help make the gardens more interactive for the public.”

Piero D'Angelico is trying to save the carvings in former Hindu temple / Mill Road library . Picture: Keith Heppell. (56702745)
Piero D'Angelico is trying to save the carvings in former Hindu temple / Mill Road library . Picture: Keith Heppell. (56702745)

Piero purchased the stones from the county council for just £1 and they are believed to have a value of around £500,000. But so far it has cost a significant amount to stone the stones while the planning decision was being considered and more money is needed to pay for them to be installed safely, including digging foundations, and adding paving around the archway to match the stones.

Cllr Dinah Pound (Lab, Romsey) is supporting the project. She said: "I'm very pleased this has received planning permission because it is beautiful and worth preserving, and I think it will be of interest to the community."

Visit .cambridgegatewayfromindia.co.uk/ to find out more or donate.



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