An eruv will be built in Borehamwood in a “matter of weeks” after Hertsmere’s planning committee unanimously backed an amended application.
Although the original application was approved in 2007, changes have been made to 21 of the 34 pole locations and one new pole site has been added.
“This has been needed in the community for a long time,” said Ebor Eruv Campaign trustee David Freedman. “I’m very pleased we’ve managed to secure what we wanted.”
Covering the local United and Federation synagogues, the eruv will allow observant Jews to carry or push things on Shabbat and will particularly benefit parents with young children, the disabled and the elderly.
More than 220 residents wrote to the council in favour of the eruv. The eight objectors expressed concern that the poles would be conspicuous and have a “detrimental effect” on the neighbourhood.
One resident, Walter Finner, told the meeting: “I believe in religious freedom but it’s not right that someone should impose their religion on people not part of that religion.” Councillors explained that they had visited the Barnet eruv and the poles and wires were barely detectable.
Councillor Ann Harrison urged Hertsmere to do more to improve the perception non-Jews have of the eruv. “There is a lack of understanding outside the Jewish community of what this is and what it looks like.
“Some people think it will be huge poles. I had no idea what an eruv was and the idea of poles going up horrified me.
“Perhaps we should do more work to educate people because there is a misconception.”
Borehamwood and Elstree minister Rabbi Naftali Brawer said the eruv would increase attendances at services.
“There are all these mums who couldn’t get out to shul and this will transform their lives overnight. It will also attract even more people into the neighbourhood.”
Among residents delighted by the go-ahead is kitchen cleaning company boss Moshe Ziman, 38, who has a four-year-old son, Daniel. “It’s been very difficult for us all without an eruv. My son hasn’t been able to go to shul and socialise on Shabbat. My wife Dahlia has found it detrimental to her and to our social life.
“An eruv will mean when we, hopefully, have more kids, it will give us social freedom. It will allow us to go to shul and go out as a family.”
A meeting will be held in nearby Mill Hill next month to discuss proposals for another eruv.