Bhaktivedanta Manor Wedding Biz Problems
BY: SURUCHI SHARMA
Feb 18, 2011 — WATFORD, ENGLAND, UK (BOREHAMWOOD & ELSTREE TIMES) — ‘Great pressure’ on temple services if temporary marquee not approved, says wedding manager (http://www.manorweddings.org/).
The wedding manager of Bhaktivedanta Manor said it would put “great pressure” on temple services if a temporary marquee planning application for summer weddings was refused.
Syamasundara das, who was appointed in his role in 1999, gave evidence as part of a three-day public inquiry which started today at Hertsmere Borough Council Civic Offices, in Borehamwood. He said that since 2009 the manor, in Hilfield Lane, Aldenham, has used a sound amplification system with a noise limiter to make sure noise does not affect the surrounding areas.
He said: “I note that the council’s reasons for refusal in respect of the present application do not include any relating to noise. “However, a number of the local residents have raised noise as an issue. Since 2008, ISKCON has had the benefit of the services of an acoustic consultant.
“It was on his recommendation that the current noise limiter was fitted in 2009. Since then, we have received no complaints about noise from the weddings either directly from our neighbours or indirectly via the council.”
He went on to state that a typical Hindu wedding can have up to 1,000 guests and that the manor limits guests to 250. He added: “When we hold a wedding in the temple, around 100 guests can be accomodated seated on the floor in the temple room. The remainder will be in the reception room, where the ceremony is relayed via video link.
“The marquee has a single open space with a total floor area more than double that available in the main building. Up to 500 seats can be provided, so that all guests can be seated during the ceremony.”
He added that the manor has told families who have booked weddings that it reserves the right to choose which venue will be used, the temple or the marquee. He said families had booked the manor for weddings one-and-a-half years in advance.
He said: “If permission for the temporary marquee was refused, it would put great pressure both on our ability to serve our families’ needs for weddings and at the same time provide for our other temple services.”
Also giving evidence today was temple president Sruti Dharma das. He said: “There is only one religious building for every 11,000 Hindus in this country.
“As a compromise, some Hindu weddings do take place in hotels, school gymnasiums or other venues in order to accomodate large numbers of guests. However, it is held to be a blessing to be able to hold one’s wedding in, or near, a sacred place. Bhaktivedanta Manor thus fulfils the aspirations of many of this generation to have a wedding at a religious site.”
Mark Sawyer, senior consultant and laboratory supervisor for Acoustical Investigation & Research Organisation Ltd (AIRO), represented the manor and gave evidence on noise from the weddings.
He said: “From a position in the flower garden the sounds of car doors being closed and conversations in the staff car park were audible, however, conversations could not be understood.
“The car park is used for many functions which run on the manor site and it is therefore unclear what proportion of the vehicle movements are wedding related.
“An external listener would not be able to distinguish between wedding related and non-wedding related vehicle movements emanating from the car park.”
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