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Plans to redevelop Highgate Synagogue raise concerns of ‘traffic chaos’

Rabbi Nicky Liss outside Highgate Synagogue.The proposed new development would extend the synagogue out towards the car parking space. Picture: Polly Hancock Rabbi Nicky Liss outside Highgate Synagogue.The proposed new development would extend the synagogue out towards the car parking space. Picture: Polly Hancock

Thursday, June 26, 2014
9:00 AM

Plans to demolish and rebuild a synagogue in Highgate have been met with concerns that building works will cause traffic chaos for neighbouring residents.

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An artist's impression of the proposed redevelopment of Highgate SynagogueAn artist's impression of the proposed redevelopment of Highgate Synagogue

The Highgate Synagogue, off North Road, wants to improve facilities and create more space for Sunday school classes.

The Highgate Society is worried that construction works will cause congestion in Grimshaw Close, which leads to the synagogue and is shared with adjoining flats.

The group is also worried about the lack of proposed parking spaces, which it said could cause vehicles to clog up Grimshaw Close.

Elspeth Clements, chairman of the society’s planning group, said: “I think they are very nicely designed new buildings but it does raise some questions.

“I think first of all the building work is going to cause problems with the adjoining flats. We are slightly worried about the old building, which forms a complete whole with the existing buildings. We are also concerned about the number of parking spaces provided.

“We will be submitting a formal response soon.”

A spokesman for architects C.F. Moller said the lack of parking spaces will decrease congestion in Grimshaw Close as fewer people will drive to the synagogue. Construction traffic will be managed, he added.

Under the new proposals, the existing synagogue would be knocked down to make way for a glass-fronted two-storey building with a larger worship room and social hall, a library, garden room and bigger classrooms. The rabbi’s cottage would not be renovated.

The plans follow an application to redevelop the synagogue in 2012. This was withdrawn after neighbours said the designs were too bulky and would block light into their homes.

C.F. Moller have reduced the size of a proposed basement by 28 per cent since the last application in response to worries that the excavation could damage neighbouring properties.

Rabbi Nicky Liss, 38, who lives in the synagogue’s adjoining cottage, said: “The community has grown over the last five years and so we need more space.

“We would like to reassure people that we are not having hundreds of extra people coming but we are having the right facilities for those are come already.”

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