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Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue submits new extension plans for disused church
A Radlett synagogue has submitted plans to demolish a disused church building to make way for an extension.
The single storey former church building at the rear of Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue in Watling Street, Radlett, has not been used for religious purposes for over 30 years.
The demolished building would be replaced with a new community centre linked to the synagogue comprising a basement, double-height hall at ground floor level, and additional accommodation on the floor above.
In documents submitted to Hertsmere Borough Council the synagogue said it is used by around 250 people on a weekly basis, and they have a membership of over 700 families.
The new basement would be three metres deep and there are fears that it may harm the tree roots of a protected tree onsite, along with issues that may occur because the site in on a major aquifer.
Glyn Evans, managing director of Geo-Environmental, said: "We consider that the ground conditions are favourable for the construction of a basement, provided the structural elements are appropriately designed by a suitably qualified engineer, in addition to the design of temporary works in relation to short term stability and long term ground stability."
Paul Freedman, principal Rabbi at Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue (RBRS) said: "The range of activities in our community means that at times we struggle to fit in our current building and, as our congregation continues to grow, there is so much more that we would like to offer.
"I am very excited to think that we will at last be able to cater for the needs of our own members and the local community in Radlett.
"In Hebrew a synagogue is called a beit knesset, literally a House of Meeting. The prospect of a modern community centre where we can meet with each other and welcome members of the wider community in Radlett is very exciting.
"It is not just a question of creating a beautiful new prayer space for current members of the community. It is not just about building for our own future. One of the most exciting prospects is extending the work we already do welcoming children from local schools that have come to learn about Living Judaism."
If the plans were approved, the synagogue has said it would give the stained glass window in the church hall to the local church community.
This is not the first time the synagogue has submitted a planning application. Last year they had permission rejected and have been working closely with the local community since then to resubmit a different design that satisfies the council’s plan.
To date, 14 people have offered their support to the scheme on Hertsmere’s council website, with just three objections.
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