The Jewish Community Centre for London, the most ambitious cultural project in Anglo-Jewry for a generation, has abandoned its plans for a new building on the site it bought in the capital's Finchley Road.
Instead, the JCC's board has scaled down a project its chief executive, Nick Viner, said would have cost "tens of millions" and has asked its architect to look at much more modest options for a refurbishment of the present building on the site, a disused Mercedes car showroom.
The board's decision is said to be a "huge disappointment" both for Mr Viner and the driving force behind the JCC, Dame Vivien Duffield. She said today: "The JCC is here to stay and my personal and financial commitment to it and to London's Jewish community is as strong as ever. I passionately believe that the JCC has already proved that it has a significant contribution to make to Jewish life in London. We will ensure that this continues to be the case in the future."
The JCC has cited the difficult economic climate as the reason for its decision. It had planned to open a new state of the art building on the site in 2012, complete with a nursery school, a sports and swimming facility, and a conference and classes centre. These plans have now been shelved and the JCC now says it hopes to open a severely cut-back version by refurbishing the existing Finchley Road building.