£1m plan is not Brum and dusted

By Cathy Forman, July 30, 2009

A proposed £1 million-plus deal with a local housing association to redevelop Birmingham Central Synagogue’s Edgbaston premises has fallen through.

The shul’s 200 members had been due to be asked at the AGM to approve plans to sell two-thirds of the site to Birmingham-based housing association Optima. However, synagogue president Geoffrey Clements wrote to them explaining that Optima had been unable to secure government funding for the project.

“There was an air of disappointment at the meeting,” Mr Clements reported. “The discussion showed that the overwhelming majority of the members were firmly in favour of the proposal.”

He was optimistic that the setback would be only temporary. “We know we have a viable proposition. We have the plans and a costed project. We now need to find either another housing association or a private developer.”

The plan is for the declining congregation to convert its Malcolm Locker Hall into a 180-capacity state-of-the-art synagogue, plus community facilities. A housing complex would be built on the remainder of the site.

Last updated: 2:19pm, July 30 2009