St John's Wood eruv gets the go-ahead despite objections

Plans for London's latest eruv have been approved by Westminster Council


Westminster Council has approved eruv plans for St John’s Wood despite claims the religious boundary would be socially divisive.

Councillor Robert Davis, chairman of the four-person planning committee which voted three-to-one in favour of the eruv on Tuesday, rejected arguments that it could increase local tensions.

“There are a number of eruvs throughout the country [and] there is absolutely no evidence I have found that there have been social cohesion problems in these areas,” he said.

The project will involve the erection of 51 black poles up to five and a half metres high in 26 locations to help mark the boundaries of the eruv, which will encompass St John's Wood United Synagogue and Lauderdale Road, the main congregation of the S and P Sephardi Community, in Maida Vale.

But Councillor Susie Burbridge, the lone objector on the committee, observed that the scheme had "already caused some controversy. I think it will carry on causing controversy.”

It will be some time before the eruv can be functional since the council wants several sets of the proposed poles to be relocated, particularly those close to historic sites.

Some poles will need to be linked to those in the still-to-be approved neighbouring eruv for Camden.

Around 55 per cent of residents within the eruv zone who wrote to the council opposed it on various grounds, including the effect on the appearance of conservation areas.

But Councillor David Boothroyd, who has seen the North-West London eruv, said in most cases the poles blend in with the surrounds. The nylon wire linking them was “almost invisible, you really have to strain to see it.”

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