Plans to expand Buddhist meditation centre in Hebburn to help site's activities

Proposals to boost facilities at a Buddhist meditation centre in South Tyneside have been submitted to council planning chiefs.

The Dhammakaya Meditation Centre of Newcastle in Hebburn.
The Dhammakaya Meditation Centre of Newcastle in Hebburn.

South Tyneside Council’s planning department recently registered an application for the Wat Phra Dhammakaya Newcastle Meditation Centre, which is based in Hebburn.

The proposed development site is located between St Andrew’s Centre and the meditation centre on Church Street.

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New plans include an infill extension between the listed buildings to form a new permanent meditation and multi-function space.

According to a design and access statement submitted with the plans, the extension would “sit neatly” between the two buildings and would be a “highly engineered contemporary infill”.

Its design would consist of “large glazed areas and feature canopies,” creating a “transparent feel which fully respects the existing heritage buildings”.

Level access would also be provided to the ground floor to allow wheelchair user access to the facility.

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The design and access statement reads: “All detailing will ensure that existing features on the heritage buildings can be maintained and uncovered [and] will be able to be reinstated should this be required.

“This proposal aims to celebrate the heritage buildings by utilising and not covering the existing facades, these will be seen easily through the feature glazing.”

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The supporting document goes on to say: “The aim of the proposal is to have a very lightweight appearance against the mass of the existing surrounding buildings.

“Nestling within the buildings and having a large green space to the front of the development it does not overlook any other properties and is not overlooked from surrounding properties.”

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The Dhammakaya Foundation is a non-profit organisation based on personal development which, according to planning documents, “promotes activities for the restoration of morality in individuals, families, societies and the world”.

Activities carried out within centres worldwide include Buddhist ceremonies, meditation retreats and Dhamma studies.

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A decision on plans for the meditation centre in Hebburn will be made once a period of council consultation comes to an end.

For more information on the planning application or to track its progress, visit South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal and search reference: ST/0154/22/FUL