Manchester eruv hit by 'racist' objections

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2011

The final hurdle to achieving planning permission for the north Manchester eruv has been hit by a "racist" objection from Salford residents who have also argued on human rights, conservation and religious grounds, as well as concerns for bats.

Salford Council, however, recommended approval for planning permission at a council meeting yesterday after objections came from 21 residents, compared to 631 people in support of the plans.

Planning permission from Salford was expected after Bury and Manchester councils approved the cross-boundary scheme earlier this year.

Most objections were rejected by the council on grounds they did not involve planning claims. Residents had argued the eruv would breach human rights by interfering with the rights of property owners; the eruv's poles would cause security risks by providing access to adjacent properties by trespassers climbing; and that they would spoil the conservation area in Broughton.

Objectors citing wildlife concerns claimed the wires could restrict the movement, and cause injury to, bats and birds.

One objection warned of "increasing properties being bought up by the Jewish communities", which was branded "racist" by one Salford councillor. "That is ridiculous. The Jewish community is a fast growing one, but everyone welcomes them, and we don't pay attention to a few mindless people who say the community is getting too big. It's a racist claim. There does not seem to be strong grounds to reject the planning application," said Cllr George Wilson, who sits on the planning committee.

The eruv organising committee now needs to raise £300,000 to construct the halachic boundary which is to be paid for by the Jewish community.

Last updated: 2:34pm, December 16 2011