launched a bid to buy Northwich's art college.
United Kingdom - Mid-Cheshire
College's School of Art and Design on London Road is seen as ideal
for the Northwich Buddhist group's needs and would mark a notable
Talks between Buddhists and the college
are at an early stage, with no plans to sell the building until
2006. The spiritual group would want to convert many rooms to bedrooms,
but would keep the main hub of the building for educational purposes.
Buddhist teacher Kelsang Chokyöng
said: 'It's a very exciting time for us in Northwich at the moment.
'We have bought a four-bedroomed house
and what we do is upgrade as we get more people interested, until
we eventually are based in a big property.
'We are hoping to buy the art college
in Northwich, which would be a very big step for us.
'At the moment they are not selling
until 2006. We are trying to find out if Vale Royal Borough Council's
planners would let us use some of the rooms for bedrooms.
'We would have to have quite a lot
of bedrooms because that's one of the main ways we sustain ourselves,
by charging rent.
'The main use of the building would
be for teaching.'
At present the Buddhist group is based
at Witton Park, but Chokyöng said more people are turning to the
meditation classes offered by the group to cope with the stresses
of modern life.
Interest in Buddhism is growing across
the world, and teachings are even being translated into Chinese.
'There are a lot of people who get
very stressed,' said Chokyöng, 'People are at the end of their tether.
'Lots of people are referred to us
by social services, who for example might be having marriage problems.
'It's quite alarming the way people
suddenly can't cope.
'People buy things to distract them,
but the reason they are unhappy is still there. They are not happy
and we try to resolve that through meditation.'
Mid-Cheshire College decided to offload
its London Road extension as part of a radical shake-up of its facilities.
The building will be replaced by an art and design block at its
The London Road arts block has been
used for education for more than a century, but the college is keen
to replace its Victorian facilities with a modern building. [IC