Plans for a £9 million family centre in Salford have come under fire from strictly Orthodox local residents and a school over issues of security and religious sensitivity.
Salford Council is in negotiations with Jewish leaders after 50 residents turned out to protest against the proposed centre, known as The Hub, at a recent consultation meeting.
Under the plans, the Talmud Torah Primary School in Wellington Street East would be in close proximity to the centre. Rabbi Joshua Waldman, who heads the 250-pupil school, is concerned that stone throwing and verbal abuse will become a problem once again if the centre goes ahead.
"Now the area has been regenerated from a former council estate there has been a 90 per cent reduction in incidents," Rabbi Waldman explained.
The proposed site "will attract the youths that caused those terrible problems", he claimed.
Another Jewish community leader, who asked not to be identified, suggested that the council had abandoned plans to design the centre with the Orthodox community specifically in mind. He pointed out that the open-plan design would deter many who might want to use the sports facilities, particularly religious women.
Councillor Jim King said the council had been working with an Orthodox Jewish architect. "We want to remove the objections of the Jewish community." Further consultations are scheduled over the next fortnight.