A CAMPAIGN group’s fight to save a historic Sikh temple from demolition has been dealt a blow with English Heritage refusing to make it a listed building.

SAVE has been battling to preserve the 137-year-old Siri Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara in Gravesend since Gravesham Council granted permission for it to be knocked down in July.

This week English Heritage rejected an application by SAVE to have the temple in Clarence Place listed as a Grade II building to protect it from demolition.

Listing reasons for the decision, a report by English Heritage said: “The building does not demonstrate either an uncommon building material nor constructional innovation.”

Council leader Councillor Mike Snelling says he is “delighted” with the decision.

He said: “The building has no real architectural merit and for this reason, and for the sake of the future amenity of the residents of Clarence Place, it should be demolished as originally planned."

However, English Heritage’s decision does not necessarily mean the temple, which was designed by renowned architect Sir John Sulman, will be demolished.

Although the council permitted developer Thamesview Living to replace the temple with 19 flats and two houses in July, it has since taken back the permission.

This followed SAVE, which is a national organisation for preserving historic buildings, applying for an injunction to block demolition and calling for a judicial review into the council decision.

The council will now make a new decision on Thamesview Living’s application at its regulatory board meeting next month.

SAVE director William Palin said: “We hope the application will be refused and the council will encourage a scheme for sympathetic re-use.

“The motive for demolition seems to be purely financial and there is little evidence the feasibility of other uses have been seriously investigated.”

The Gurdwara Management Committee decided to sell the building to the developer for £3.1m to raise money for the new £13m temple it is constructing in Khalsa Avenue.

General secretary Narinder Singh, 56, says it had been trying to sell the building for re-use for two years before accepting Thamesview Living’s offer.