Home win buoys a growing shul
ONE OF the United Synagogue’s youngest communities has cleared a major obstacle to extending its premises after a protracted dispute with Enfield Council.
Planning Inspector Gloria MacFarlane has granted Hadley Wood Synagogue formal permission to continue to meet in the house it bought in 2002 following an appeal hearing last year.
The community began as a satellite of Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue in the 1990s and became a US member in its own right in 2012.
It applied to the council for planning permission to extend the building three years ago. But it withdrew the application after being told that it first required a “lawful development certificate” to change the use of the building from a private home.
The community argued that it had been holding services for at least 10 years previously, thus meeting the conditions for a certificate. The coun- cil countered that Hadley Wood had failed to produce sufficient evidence of use as a synagogue for that long.
Ms MacFarlane ruled that although she could not grant the certificate for use as a synagogue, she could award it for “mixed use” as a residence and synagogue as that had been the case for more than 10 years.
Although the community’s rabbi, Yoni Birnbaum, and his family moved out of the four-bedroom property in 2013, the shul has a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/living room to accommodate those who help with services.
Hadley Wood chairman John Melchior said it was “a growing community with an extremely active rabbi. We have a nice little cheder. We are looking to expand and are meeting with the board to decide the next step.” Extending the building would still require planning permission from the council.
Shabbat morning services now attract up to 60 people. Around 300 came on the High Holy-Days, when prayers were held at a different venue.