Residents opposed to South Hampstead Synagogue demolition receive English Heritage blow

15:00 13 June 2014

Artists impression for the new South Hampstead Synagogue

Artists impression for the new South Hampstead Synagogue


Residents opposing the demolition of South Hampstead Synagogue have criticised English Heritage after the conservation body failed to support their bid to have the building listed.

Sir Derek Jacobi has voiced his opposition to the plans for South Hampstead Synagogue. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSir Derek Jacobi has voiced his opposition to the plans for South Hampstead Synagogue. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

Attempts to see the synagogue, in Eton Villas, recognised as a building of “national special 
architectural or historic interest” were formed in a bid to block a planning application which would see it bulldozed and replaced by a larger, four-storey centre.

Residents – including actor Sir Derek Jacobi and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC – have publicly complained that the proposals for the new synagogue are “out of keeping with the local area” and would have a negative impact on parking, pollution and congestion.

But their attempts to stave off a major redevelopment have been dealt a hammer blow after officers at English Heritage ruled that the 1962 building – designed by the architectural practice Lyons Israel Ellis – is “not of sufficient interest” to merit listing.

Advising the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to reject the listing application, which it duly did on Friday, English Heritage said: “Though not without 
interest as a post-war synagogue by a noted architectural practice, the building lacks the quality of interest in its design, detailing and planning, to mark it out amongst its contemporaries as being of 
national special interest.

“Its interior planning is typical, and it lacks features such as the decorative stained glass found in others of this period.”

Plans to erect a replacement synagogue were submitted in December. Leaders at the South Hampstead Synagogue say the current building “fails to provide for the needs of the community”.

Designs for the new synagogue are by architects Allies and Morrison, the team behind Croydon’s forthcoming £1billion Westfield shopping complex, and officials hope to see the building replaced by a four-storey centre with an 
extended basement and added space for classrooms and areas for community celebrations.

While many synagogue users have backed the plans, the controversial development in a conservation area has prompted a backlash from hundreds of residents.

The Belsize residents who submitted the listing application said in a joint statement: “We believe English Heritage should be held to account as the independent custodian of our neighbourhood. Obviously we are disappointed with the decision but we intend to submit an appeal.”

Shlomo Levin, senior rabbi at the synagogue, said: “The plans address our urgent needs as a community – in particular those at the two ends of the age spectrum and do so in a way which I believe is sensitive to the concerns of the local community.”

No date has yet been set for the planning 
application to be heard at a Camden planning committee.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:39

I ride a bicycle. I also walk, take the bus, occasionally drive, ride a motorcycle, or use the Tube

Yesterday, 15:00

Up to 100 free superfast Wi-Fi terminals could be coming to Camden in a London first as BT looks to revolutionise its phone boxes.

Yesterday, 12:00

Hampstead Theatre chiefs have paid tribute to a director of “huge skill” following his death at the age of 71.

Yesterday, 11:01

The organiser of Belsize Christmas lights has issued a last-ditch appeal for funds to cover the final costs for this year’s decorations.

Yesterday, 09:00

The number of council properties sold in Camden and Haringey in the last year has been revealed.

Yesterday, 07:00

The 2000-year-old relics originally from the West Bank are being marketed for $1million dollars in London as part of a unique exhibition

Wed, 18:04

Highgate residents are protesting against plans for a large home to be built between mansions of “great distinction”.

Wed, 17:46

An 89-year-old pensioner from Kentish Town who has severe dementia has been found.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now