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Finchley Reform Synagogue calls halt to extension plans as neighbours protest
A synagogue in Finchley has called a halt to its extension plans following objections from neighbours.
A total of 159 people objected to the proposals brought forward by Finchley Reform Synagogue (FRS) who want to expand their current site in Fallow Court Avenue.
Their aim was to demolish part of the 50-year-old building and erect a modern, two storey extension which would include multi-purpose rooms as well as the synagogue’s existing kindergarten.
Rabbi Miriam Berger told the Times Series: “Twenty years ago when people came to the synagogue they came for a service and all sat in prayer together. Now people have different needs and want to approach prayer in different ways.
“The plans would allow us to have flexible spaces so people can pray how they want in different rooms whether they to do that through study, with their children or by singing.”
However, neighbours objected to the plans saying it would increase traffic in the area, limit the amount of sunlight to nearby homes and detriment the aesthetics of the street.
Muireann Kelly, who has lived in Fallow Court Avenue for 16 years, said: “There would have been a 50 per cent increase in their floor space which of course would mean more people using the synagogue.
"The parking in this area is already ridiculous and it would only get worse if the plans went ahead.
“The proposed new building also looks like a fortress with a wall all the way round it – we don’t want to live near somewhere like that.”
Tuku Banerji, who lives adjacent to FRS, added: “We’re not against the synagogue being there, it’s the fact they didn’t consult with us properly. It got everyone’s back up.”
Rabbi Berger said the synagogue will take into consideration residents’ opinions before resubmitting the plans to Barnet Borough Council.
She said: “We want to stop and listen to our neighbours and make sure that when we do resubmit they feel they have been heard.
“We want to be responsible neighbours and we take our position in the community seriously. We hope to resubmit the plans as soon as possible.”