Bournemouth synagogue rejected as 'listed building'

By Corinne Rein, April 15, 2010

Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation leaders have welcomed the decision of Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw to reject an application from English Heritage for the shul complex to be given listed status.

The shul had opposed the listing, which would have complicated the sale of the town centre premises, described as a "last gasp of red-brick seaside orientalism" by the Jewish Heritage in England guide.

In a letter of explanation, Mr Bradshaw was said to be "persuaded by the argument that extensive alterations have had a detrimental effect on the architectural interest of the synagogue and that little survives of the original 1911 synagogue both externally and internally".

English Heritage has expressed regret at the rejection, claiming the shul interior retains "its original Edwardian character and many internal features including commemorative windows which add to its special interest. The synagogue compares well with other Grade II listed synagogues." It can lodge an appeal.

Shul president Brian Bradley explained to members that a relocation proposal was with the synagogue planning committee, "which is to meet shortly to decide its future strategies". He reminded them that at an EGM 18 months ago, "an overwhelming majority voted to relocate the synagogue to Bournemouth's East Cliff. This proposed move is also fully supported by our minister, Rabbi Adrian Jesner.

"A lot of hard work has gone into opposing the listing, but even harder work will be needed in relocating our synagogue."

Last updated: 4:25pm, April 15 2010