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Finchley Reform Synagogue plans will 'bring building into 21st Century'
A synagogue looking to revamp its “dated” facilities will learn its fate tomorrow when the plans are assessed by Barnet Council.
Leaders at the Finchley Reform Synagogue, in Fallow Court Avenue, have submitted an application to demolish part of the 50-year-old venue to make way for a more modern facility.
The plans are opposed by some neighbours concerned that a new building would lead to a larger congregation.
Among the complaints from 28 people that wrote to Barnet Council on the issue were a loss of natural light to neighbouring buildings, increased noise and disturbance and traffic and parking issues.
Rabbi Miriam Berger believes the redevelopment will benefit the wider community.
She said: “We’re not so much extending as using the site differently. This started off as a small building and it has been added do somewhat ad-hoc over the years so this is an opportunity to bring it all into one building.
“As a religious leader in the 21st Century, we realise the synagogue is not a one size fits all entity and we want to create some more flexibility.”
The plans include the part-demolition of the synagogue and the erection of a two storey extension.
An existing kindergarten at the site will be re-housed, with more multi-purpose rooms built to increase the scope of the synagogue’s activities.
Council officers have recommended the application be approved under certain conditions, but the final decision will be made by the authority’s planning committee tomorrow.
Rabbi Berger said: “I can understand a certain anxiety from neighbours around any planning application but I think this is not just best for the community, it is also best for the neighbourhood.
“We will be bringing a dilapidated building into line with the area.”