Masorti gets shul go-ahead
St Albans Masorti Synagogue has been given the green light to proceed with plans to convert an empty industrial unit just south of the city centre into its first permanent home.
Despite local opposition and a recommendation from planning officers to reject the application for changing the 4,500 square foot building from commercial use to a place of worship, members of the St Albans District Council planning committee voted overwhelmingly to grant consent.
Opposition to the plans included 55 signatories on a petition organised by a resident close to the site. Shul members packed Tuesday night's council meeting to demonstrate support.
Approval is subject to a number of conditions, mainly in regard to parking and hours of operation. It is hoped that once these are formally accepted by the synagogue's trustees, the 15-year lease negotiated on the property - with right to renew - can be signed.
"This was a victory for common sense," said Liz Oppedijk, leader of the congregation's building group. "Contrary to fears expressed by local residents, we have every intention of being good neighbours, maintaining our hours of operation at a reasonable level and parking with consideration."