Plans are in to turn a modern office unit York city centre into a place of worship and social hub.
One of the ground floor units at Ryedale House on Piccadilly could be converted into a social area, meditation room and shrine.
The application is from the Triratna Buddhist Community, which currently meets at 38 Gillygate.
Planning documents state: “Internally, the majority of the floorspace will be left open, with a meditation / shrine room and storage area on the right hand side, which will be curtained off from the social area on the left hand side.
“At the rear, new cubicles will be formed to provide a WC, disabled WC and lobby. A small tea bar will also be provided.
“The activities which will be taking place at Ryedale House involve Buddhist worship, but unlike other religions, this is not a major part of what Buddhists do.
“Rather, activities are mainly study of various kinds and meditation. The programme of events is spread throughout the week and at various different times.
“These include guided meditation sessions for all levels of experience for both new members and regulars; an Introduction to Buddhism and meditation; study groups for community members; and a series of day retreats.”
‘Well thought out’
The application says no more than 35 people are likely to be in the unit at any one time.
Potential opening hours are 9am-9.30pm Monday to Friday, and 9am-5.30pm at weekends.
The Guildhall Planning Panel has welcomed the scheme, saying: “This seems a well thought out plan.”
But two residents of a flat above the unit have objected. One said: “I would like to object to this change of use as it would affect negatively the sale value of our apartment in the block and the ability to rent the apartment.
“I am also concerned it would cause harm to the host building of residential flats as may be a target for attacks and vandalism.”
Her partner says: “This will devalue the property and impact rented income too. For
those that do not hold the same beliefs they will not want to be housed in the same building.”
You can see the planning application here.