OXFORD’S Sikh community has finally moved into its new home.

The former plumber’s merchant unit in London Road, Headington, has been turned into a Sikh temple – known as a Gurdwara.

Prayer meetings have already started taking place there after Oxford City Council gave the plans the thumbs up in June.

And next month the community is set to hold a three-day party to celebrate.

In 2010 Oxford’s Sikhs were ordered by the city council to stop using a three-bedroom house in Cherwell Drive, Marston, as a temple because they did not have planning permission.

Several neighbours had also complained about noise and parking problems.

Community member Pargan Singh said: “If feels great to have our own space and to be able to do what we want to do rather than having the restrictions we had at other places.

“We can come and go when we like.”

Oxford’s Sikh community is called the Sri Guru Singh Sabha group and roughly 40 people attend the weekly prayer meetings.

The shop has been empty for two years after heating and plumbing company Sharp + Howse moved to Osney Mead in West Oxford.

Several of the partition walls have been knocked down to open up a large space for holding prayer meetings where the Sikh’s holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, will also be housed.

There will also be a kitchen and several other rooms. Mr Singh has estimated refurbishments will cost in the region of £400,000 but donations have flooded in from Sikh communities around the country.

Mr Singh said: “Most of the building work was only small, minor changes. The rest of it will carry on while we are in here.

“We are a bit short of cash so from the outside the building will stay as it is for the moment. But we are just happy to have the space we have got. Once we have established ourselves maybe we will do something else.”

Since moving out of Cherwell Drive, the Sikhs have been using St Nicholas School in Marston for their prayer meetings, which are held every Sunday. Before having a permanent home many Sikhs from Oxfordshire would travel to Swindon or Leamington Spa to worship.