IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Archway’s monks in plea for a ‘secure home’

Petition calls on TfL to sell current site to centre for Shaolin culture

10 July, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Grandmaster monk Shifu Shi Yanzi

SHAOLIN monks are on the hunt’ for a “permanent home” as they look to expand their Archway temple.

The Shaolin Temple UK has been the official emissary of the 1,500-year-old temple in Henan Province in China since it was opened in 2000 by grandmaster monk Shifu Shi Yanzi.

But a petition has now been set up with nearly 1,000 signatures calling on Transport for London (TfL) to sell the Junction Road site to the monks.

The temple premises at Junction Road

At the moment TfL rent the property on a 10-year lease but they have considered dropping that to a five-year lease.

Mr Yanzi told the Tribune: “We are looking for a secure, permanent place to grow our temple and promote this kind of well-being culture.

“We are waiting for support from the council and trying to get London Underground to hear our pleas.

“If we cannot secure this place we will have to look somewhere else.”

The Women’s class

Mr Yanzi, who was a famed Kung Fu (also known as Gong Fu) warrior in China before he came to the UK to set up the temple, added: “We only have one hall here and we don’t want people squashed together training especially during the coronavirus.”

The temple is a martial arts school and centre for study of Shaolin culture, in particular Gong Fu-Ch’an, Qigong and Ch’an Buddhist Meditation.

Daniel Lovatt, head of property management at TfL, said: “We are currently in active discussions with Shaolin Temple about their leasehold. We are keen to support them, and all our tenants, build and grow their businesses with our estate offering a variety of opportunities for expansion. Small businesses play an important part in supporting the capital’s economy and making London such a fantastic city. With 86 per cent of our tenants being SMEs, we’re proud that our retail estate both supports these businesses, while also generating vital revenue to reinvest into the transport network.”

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