Objectors force withdrawal of Finchley Reform's £2m plan

Finchley Reform Synagogue has withdrawn its planning application to Barnet Council for a £2 million expansion to its Fallow Court Avenue site following objections from neighbours.

FRS applied to Barnet Council for consent to upgrade and extend its facilities. But the application was deferred in November by a planning commitee after more than 100 complaints were lodged. Planning committee papers listed traffic problems, noise issues and building appearance among the 21 reasons for the opposition.

There were also complaints that the premises would not be available to the wider community.

One objector living “very close” to the FRS premises claimed the proposed expansion was “far too big. Hopefully they will redesign. The parking and congestion is already appalling. Local residents object to an expansion of this significance. It will will shut out trees, leaving residents looking at a seven-metre high wall. It will block out light and neighbours’ outlook.”

A spokesman for the Finchley Society conservation group, another of the objectors, was not surprised at the application’s withdrawal. “In principle we are not unhappy about the shul extending, but it is a badly designed [proposed] building. It’s a fortress.”

FRS rebuilding group chair Charles Kessler said the decison to withdraw the application had been taken as “we want to work with neighbours and we want people to feel we are listening to the community. We have to go through the comments of neighbours.”

Public meetings would be held for residents “to discuss their concerns”.

The 1,150-member shul had proposed a two-storey extension to the 1970s premises to house a kindergarten, cheder, meeting rooms and an additional small synagogue.

Last updated: 10:45am, January 28 2013