PROJECT BY GURU NANAK DARBAR GURDWARA
Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara (Gravesend) at Clarence Place (1968 to 2010)
The Sikh community of Gravesend had gathered to pray at 55 Edwin Street, a terraced house in a residential street, until 1968. As the community grew, this property was deemed to be too small and a property in Clarence Place was purchased. This was originally a Church, and then used as a wholesale warehouse, before being purchased by Gravesend’s Sikhs.
The formal opening of Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Clarence Place was held on Sunday 17th November 1968, with a Nagar Kirtan (procession) from Edwin Street to the new premises. 3,000 people are reported to have taken part in the opening day’s celebrations. The Nagar Kirtan was led by the Panj Pyare and Guru Granth Sahib Ji as it arrived at the new Gurdwara. Sikhs from all over the country had come to Gravesend to take part in the celebrations, which also coincided with the 499th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of the Sikh faith and after whom the Gurdwara is named.
The new Gurdwara was noted to be the largest in the United Kingdom at the time, and the opening happened to be on the day after Enoch Powell’s infamous “send them home” speech. Mr David Ennals, Minister of State for the Social Services, attended the Gurdwara opening and his speech was described in the Gravesend Reporter as “a scorching reply was a well timed answer made in the right atmosphere to lend support to his case”. The opening was also attended by Alderman Charles Sutor, Mayor of Gravesend, Mr Albert Murray MP, and leaders of different faith and community groups.
The black and white pictures show the procession from Edwin Street to Clarence Place, and the celebrations inside the Gurdwara, on 17th November 1968.
Clarence Place became a much-loved Gurdwara for the Sikhs of Gravesham and surrounding areas. Thousands of Anand Karajs (marriages), Akhand Paaths, Sehaj Paaths and Sukhmani Sahibs to celebrate other important events in people’s lives took place there and formed lifelong memories for those involved. However, by the end of the 1990’s, it was becoming apparent that the community had outgrown the Clarence Place site and there was a need for a larger and more modern Gurdwara.
After two or three years of planning, work started on the new Gurdwara in 2002. The pictures show the turning of the first piece of turf to start work on the new site, in April 2002.
It took over eight years to build the new Gurdwara and be ready to move out of Clarence Place. The following pictures show the Clarence Place Gurdwara in the last few days before closure. Preparing for the move was a time of mixed emotions for many, sadness at leaving a much-loved place and joy at the opening of Europe’s largest Gurdwara in their own town.
Almost exactly 42 years after moving into Clarence Place, on 19th November 2010, the community moved into the new Gurdwara in Guru Nanak Marg, off Saddington Street. A Nagar Kirtan was organised to bring Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the new Gurdwara ceremoniously. The following pictures show a few scenes from that day, bidding farewell to Clarence Place and arriving joyfully at the new Gurdwara.
WHATS NEXT FOR CLARENCE PLACE?
Over the past 12 years, Clarence Place has been vacant over this period, different committees have explored different options, including renovation to flats and selling the property to developers. Overall, the Sangat wish to keep the building, and it becomes part of the Gurdwara estate.
In 2018 we started the journey to seek planning permission on existing plans. Please see below the journey map.
In Jan 2023, the Gurdwara was formally granted planning. The next step of the journey was to set up a Project Board that would oversee the project's development. Please see below the project board members and roles.
The planned approach to managing this project ensures that we all understand the new legislation and regulations. Several new pieces of legislation in the construction industry have existed over the past 12 years. These include:
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
The Energy Performance of Buildings
The Building Regulations 2018
The Modern Slavery Act 2015
The Infrastructure Act 2015
These pieces of legislation demonstrate the ongoing effort to improve the construction industry's safety, sustainability, and ethical practices. As society's expectations and priorities change, the industry will likely continue to be subject to new regulations and requirements.
It was agreed at the project board that we would require external expertise from design to construction to deliver this project successfully.
HIGH-LEVEL PROCUREMENT PROCESS
The high-level procurement process involves careful planning, selecting the right partner, and evaluation to ensure that goods and services are procured in a fair, transparent, and cost-effective manner. By following a structured procurement process, the Gurdwara can reduce project risk.
Project communication is essential for stakeholder engagement, risk management, conflict resolution, decision-making, and performance monitoring. By establishing a clear communication plan with Sanagt and promoting open and honest communication throughout the project, teams can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal and that the project is delivered successfully.
The timetable for meetings is as follows:
Project Board – Last Sunday of every month
All Sangat Meeting – First Saturday of every month
Stage Announcements First Sunday of every month
ALL SANGAT MEETING DATES
Is the Gurdwara setting up a Construction Company for the Clarence Place Project?
We have no plans to set up a separate company for this project.
Who will sign the contract with the suppliers?
The current Trustees will sign any legal documents - overall responsibility is with Mukh-Sewadar.
Do we have a project board to manage the development project?
Yes, a project board has been set up to manage the project. See the project board for further information.
Are we claiming VAT on this project?
The Gurdwara is not VAT registered. We have also reviewed the guidelines for re-development projects by charities. Please see further information below https://www.gov.uk/guidance/buildings-and-construction-vat-notice-708#section7
When a committee changes, will there be an issue with the contractor not wanting to work with the new committee?
No, a legal contract will be in place, and the contractor(s) will be held accountable via the agreement. The agreement is with Guru Nanak Darbar and not the committee. A Committee change does not impact the agreements since the legal entity is the Gurdwara.
Will the existing Project Board support any new committee?
Yes, the existing project board, if requested, will continue to support any new committee to ensure the project is completed successfully.
What procurement process are we following?
Please see the high-level procurement process above.
How often are Sangat meetings held for updates?
Monthly meetings are held on the first Saturday of every month @ 5:00 pm in the lecture theatre. Dates for future meetings can be found above All Sangat Meeting Dates.
Where can I see the plans for the new redevelopment?
The site plans can be viewed https://plan.gravesham.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=externalDocuments&keyVal=REDQ15HPKPL00
How long will the project take?
We do not have an accurate timeframe at this stage as we are still in the design phase. We will update Sangat at the monthly meeting on the project and timelines.
How much will the project cost?
At this stage, we have not appointed a Quantity Surveyor. Once the Quantity Surveyor has been appointed, a cost plan will be produced. We will update the Sangat during the monthly updates on the project and costings.
Can we visit the site?
The site is not safe for visitors. We will provide pictures and video footage during the monthly meetings.
Who is accountable for delivering the project?
The project board.
Will each supplier have a contract?
Yes, each supplier will be under a commercial agreement to deliver services.
Have we appointed a construction lawyer?
A construction lawyer has been appointed to produce the Letters of Appointment.
Do we have external support for professional services?
Yes, several key roles are required to deliver the project, including Design Consultants, Principle Designer, CDM (Construction Design Management), Contract Administration & Quantity Surveyor.
Who has the authority to make payments?
The following two roles: Mukh Sevadar & Head of Finance must both approve all payment transfers
How much money have we spent on planning since the process started?
The process started in 2018. The costs to date have been £84k.
What is the difference between a traditional contract and Design and Build?
The main difference between the two approaches is Control.
With Traditional Procurement, you retain overall control of your project and continue to receive impartial support and advice from your team and Quantity Surveyor. Your Contractor must build what has been specified and holds responsibility for workmanship, but all design liability lies with your Architect/design team. The different parties, therefore, work together to ensure your project’s success, checking that each stage of your build is completed satisfactorily and delivering the finished project you envisaged.
With the Design & Build method, the Contractor retains overall control of your project and is legally responsible for both the design and the workmanship of your build. They make design decisions based on their judgement and financial benefit, all of which can affect the project’s success.
What approach is the Gurdwara planning?
The project board have agreed to select the traditional procurement route where the Gurdwara controls the design, project costs and material selection with support from professional appointments.
What background checks are planned when selecting suppliers?
A minimum of three quotes will be required from each supplier. Each supplier will undergo and not be limited to the following: Financial background, Insurance (Public/Employers & Professional Indemnity & Experience.
How will the project be funded?
The Gurdwara has sufficient funds for the project. Currently, we have no plans to borrow for this project.
Are we going to sell the flats once they are built?
No, the plan is to rent these, which will generate revenue for future projects.
How many flats are being built?
14 Flats in total. Eight one-bedroom flats and Six two-bedroom flats.
Are these being built for only the Sikh Community only?
No, this commercial project will be available to all communities to rent.
Who will manage the flats once built?
This is something we will consider having carried out the due diligence process in terms of viable options. The options will be discussed nearer the completion of the development.
Are the Gurdwara setting up a limited company for this project
We have no plans to set up a limited company.
Why, as a Gurdwara, do we need/want to build flats/apartments?
This asset is part of the Gurdwara property portfolio. The investment will benefit the future generation and self-sufficiency of the Gurdwara.
Why don't we sell the building with planning permission?
As a management committee, we have a duty to protect the Gurdwara assets and invest for the future. We believe It would be unwise to sell the property.
Whom can I contact for further information?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.