Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Bradford Sikh temple defends Barkerend area gates installation
Sikhs who put up big gates in a Bradford street have defended their move by saying they had the community’s best interests at heart.
President of the Gobind Singh Gurdwara, Ranbir Singh, said it was never the temple’s intention to upset anyone or cause any bitter feelings.
He said the reason for the gates was to make the street safer by keeping drug dealers out and by creating a set place for car parking for the temple, rather than people parking elsewhere.
On Tuesday the Telegraph & Argus reported how people living in and around Ventnor Street were angry the pair of 6ft blue padlocked iron gates had appeared suddenly.
Claims were made that the gates were dividing the community by blocking traffic access and left just enough room for one person on foot to squeeze through.
About 20 people turned up at ward councillor Imran Khan’s surgery to complain and demand answers.
But John Rowley, Bradford Council's principal engineer, has since made it clear the Guru Gobind Singh Temple had been given permission back in 2009 to make that part of Ventnor Street private access and into a car park – no objections were made at that time.
Allegations of the temple splitting the community by putting up the gates has offended its members, said Mr Singh.
He added: “Our community is not happy. We have good relationships with the Bradford community as a whole. We think of ourself as Bradfordians now – not Indians. We have never tried to split any community, we have many friends.
“We don’t want any trouble. We are wanting to make things better in that area. We bought that land from the Council so it is now private and we have to protect it. As well as blocking out the drug dealing that was happening in that corner it will cause less congestion with parking on the streets when we have our celebrations.
“Also, because the land is now private we are liable if anyone had an accident on it and we don’t want to be sued. Those are the only reasons why we put up the gates.”
Inspector Andy Gallant said he was aware the application for the gates had been made some time ago. He added: “Since then, there has been a significant amount of work undertaken to tackle anti-social behaviour and related issues in the area.
“In the last six weeks alone, we have recorded a 60 per cent reduction in calls relating to anti-social behaviour in that area.”