Barnet rabbis get ‘free’ parking offer

By Jessica Elgot, July 4, 2008

A “pray and display” scheme to give religious leaders free parking when carrying out religious duties has been launched by Barnet Council.

Rabbis, along with other religious leaders, can apply for permits allowing them to park in a residents’ bay when on official business. However, the scheme is not entirely free as there is a £40 administration charge.

Barnet Jewish councillor Brian Gordon lobbied for its introduction, believing that there are “many situations, such as visits to sick congregants and shivah houses, where special parking permits for rabbis would benefit our community”.

Finchley Progressive Synagogue’s Rabbi Neil Janes welcomed the initiative, telling the JC: “I often have had embarrassing conversations when I arrive in Barnet for pastoral visits, having to ask for visitors’ permits.”

Edgware Reform’s Rabbi Daniel Smith will also be taking advantage of the scheme. “We often have emergencies to go to and it’s good not to have to think twice about where to park.”

However, Edgware Synagogue’s Rabbi David Lister said he would not be joining up. “I appreciate the gesture, but I’ve not had much of a problem with parking. I try to walk wherever I can. If you can avoid driving, you should.”

Defending the £40 fee, a council spokesperson explained: “The costs are identical to a residential parking permit. We don’t make money from it.”

    Last updated: 4:55pm, July 21 2009