Aberdeen’s first Hindu temple could open in the new year after councillors approved plans for the project.
Aberdeen Hindu Temple Trust lodged proposals to convert the empty Old Stoneywood Church into a new place of worship in the autumn.
There are more than 3,500 Hindus in the north-east but the nearest temple is 70 miles away in Dundee.
Councillors have approved the Bucksburn plans with five conditions, including carrying out a noise impact assessment and parking restrictions on Bankhead Road.
Saravanakumar Kanakarajan, from the Aberdeen Hindu Temple Trust, said they are now moving forward with the project and hope to welcome their first worshippers in 2020.
Saravana said: “Efforts have been ongoing for quite some time.
“The trust was formed in 2014 and ever since we have been working towards this.
“The next stage is to make sure we meet all of the conditions.
“It will be a combination of a place of worship and a community centre. We hope to open for a few hours every day.
“The ground floor will be a community centre and we will run yoga sessions and a lot of other activities there.
“This will be a huge change for local Hindu people because they need a place to go and this will be a huge advantage.
“We will be meeting soon to discuss the planning permission.
“The church is ready to use but it will need some minor maintenance before we move in.”
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A council report into the approval of the project said: “The proposed use would revert to the building’s original use as a place of worship.
“The proposal would enable active reuse of a building of architectural and historic interest on a brownfield site within a built-up area and close to an existing bus route.”
The church was built in the 1840s and the building was converted into offices in the 1990s.
There would be no changes to the external layout or historical features of the 19th Century structure.
The original planning statement for the project said the temple would be an “iconic symbol” for the north-east.
The document said it would allow people from different parts of the world to gather under one roof and practise their faith.
It said: “The temple would be an iconic symbol for Aberdeen city and it would allow individuals of different countries to gather and share a common theme.
“It will be considered to be a place where the residents gather together for worship, therefore creating integration for many.
“Our aim is to return the building back to its original use, however with a twist, with not only an aim to integrate the neighbouring residents, but to play a key role in integrating the residents of Aberdeen city and shire.”