Home win buoys a grow­ing shul

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY SI­MON ROCKER

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.

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