Jewish Community Centre gets go-ahead
An artist's impression of how the new JCC will look
The long-awaited Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC) has received unanimous planning permission from Camden Council to build its new home in Swiss Cottage, north west London.
The former Mercedes showroom on Finchley Road will be razed and rebuilt as a multi-purpose cultural and social building, expected to open in 2013.
The project was the initiative of Dame Vivien Duffield, whose Clore Duffield Foundation has committed £25 million to the scheme, the biggest ever single gift to a Jewish communal body. Welcoming the granting of planning permission, Dame Vivien said: "Ever since I saw at first hand the impact of the JCC in New York, I have been passionate about bringing the same benefits to London. This is not just any building, but one that is beautifully designed, modern and stylish.
"Creating a space where everyone can come together will be enriching and enlivening for the whole Jewish community and for the wider community beyond. It's up to the community now to raise the remainder of the funds and make the JCC a reality."
Nick Viner, the JCC's chief executive, said that half the funds were already in place for "a visionary project with the potential to transform Jewish life in London."
This is not just any building, but one that is beautifully designed, modern and stylish.
Granting of the planning consent has been welcomed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson and by rabbis across the religious spectrum, from Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks to Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism.
The planned building will include 14 residential flats and a dedicated nursery floor which will provide all-day Jewish nursery care for nearly 80 children aged from six months to five years old. The cultural floor will have a multi-purpose hall, a cinema screening room, a recording studio, and arts and crafts facilities. There will also be a demonstration kosher kitchen.
The JCC will be "Shabbat-friendly", open on Saturdays but allowing Shabbat-observant people to enjoy the facilities of the building.