Mikvah's reprieve


A new luxury mikvah complex has been saved from being partial demolished after a planning row with angry neighbours.

The Machzikei Hadass mikvah in Salford, a £300,000 development, was completed in 2009 with four ritual pools and 19 luxury bathrooms, each with a personal music station. It was designed to offer a spa-like experience to women of the growing strictly-Orthodox community.

But complaints by two neighbouring residents to the complex argued that the development failed to meet its original planning criteria.

Such complaints, if upheld, would force the mikvah to demolish unplanned changes. They include the addition of large dormer extensions to the roof, high wooden fencing topped with barbed wire, 11 instead of seven car parking spaces, and two lighting poles.

Negotiations of changes demanded to the roof dormers continued between the parties this week.

However, last Thursday, Salford Council accepted a retroactive planning application for most of the modifications, provided that the lighting columns were removed and the high fencing replaced with greenery within three months.

Trustees of the mikvah argued that security experts had advised the high fencing, while dormers were added after a miscalculation of the roof space need to house plant equipment serving the facility.

Salford Council's planning office said: "The inclusion of green treatments to the roof needs to be finalised before a final decision is issued."

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