Brighton Reform’s plan to build for the future

Commercial housing development will fund modern synagogue


Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue is planning a major redevelopment of its site to incorporate a new shul building alongside 18 flats for commercial sale.

Michael Harris, the congregation’s joint chair, anticipated that the project would “be broadly self-financing” through the sale of the flats.

“The current building is too large and expensive to run,” he told the JC. “Costly maintenance bills can be expected in the short to medium term.

“We have looked at many options and the proposal represents a way to achieve a new, low-cost maintenance building of a size to suit membership numbers both now and for the foreseeable future.

“With improved design and modern materials and techniques, we can make much more efficient use of space on a multi-purpose basis.”

The intention is to construct the new shul on what is currently the car park and to have the new building in place before vacating the old, although leaders are still investigating the technical and financial feasibility.

Including children, the shul has 540 members. Mr Harris said it had steadied the decline in numbers in recent years, despite the deaths of some of the elderly congregants who constitute a substantial proportion of the membership.

Mr Harris attributed the stability to the efforts of Rabbi Andrea Zanardo, his wife Sara, who heads the cheder, “and our constant action to retain existing members and attract new ones.

“We are all very excited,” he added. “We’ve reached the stage when we can say that the plans are real and we are determined to push on.

“In recent meetings with our members, we received strong support to move ahead. We plan to appoint contractors through a tender process.

“This project will mark a major advance for Brighton and Hove Reform Synagogue, as well as the wider Jewish community in Sussex.”

Preliminary phases of the consultation process have been completed and the next stage will be a viewing of the plans for interested parties, followed by the submission of a planning application to Brighton and Hove Council.

The Reform scheme is the second major building project proposal within the local community.

Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation is planning to redevelop its New Church Road site to include a synagogue, kosher café, educational space and functions hall, plus housing geared towards young families.


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