A Hindu temple that sparked fears it would close has been given a short-term lease extension.

Over 10,000 people supported the campaign to save the Vel Murugan Temple, currently based in Woodside Playing Field’s former bowls club, as it neared the end of its lease to vacate the building by September 17.

It was believed the temple was under threat of being shut down by Watford Borough Council, who have plans to build a sports village on the site.

Prashanth Elangovan, a spokesperson for the temple and a Conservative council candidate for the Meriden ward, said they could not find an alternative location in time with the lease deadline.

Now the temple’s lease has been extended until January 3, 2022.

While Mr Elangovan is “delighted” that an extension has been granted, he fears it may only “postpone the closure” rather than save it.

However Mayor Peter Taylor believes this extension will “allow time” for the appropriate discussions to take place.

Mr Elangovan said: "The Temple Trustees and the wider Hindu community are delighted at the U-Turn that Mayor (Peter) Taylor has made, in reversing the decision to vacate the Temple from its current location on 17 September 2021.

“However, he has only offered a short-term lease until 3 January 2022. Sadly, this may only postpone the closure of the Temple if an alternative suitable location is not found.

“I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to those who showed their support in many ways, including those who signed the petition or wrote personally to Mayor Taylor to prevent the closure of the temple."

He added: “I hope Mayor Taylor will now start to support the minority Hindu community by offering meaningful help in finding a permanent location for the temple.”

The Mayor previously told the Watford Observer that the public campaign was “political” and they have been they were trying to work with the Vel Murugan Trust to find a solution.

The temple used to be in Exchange Road but was temporarily moved to its current site in Woodside Playing Fields.

Since the congregation moved to Woodside, it was clear that the former temple site on the ring road would become housing.

Now, in response to the lease extension, he said: “‘Watford’s Hindu community is an important and valued part of our town’s vibrancy and diversity so I am pleased the Vel Murugan Trust has responded positively to my offer to engage with them to support their search for a permanent home for the Temple.

“To allow time for these discussions, we have offered the Trust a short-term lease on the Owls Bowls Club building to 3 January 2022.

“This will give them the opportunity to get their future plans in place and for us to take forward our exciting plans for Woodside, which will create an outstanding new leisure and community destination in north Watford.”