Canvey Island Charedi community leaders criticised over shul garden plan
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Canvey Island Charedi community leaders criticised over shul garden plan

Concerned local residents say traffic, parking, noise and the operating hours of the synagogue could be problematic

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A scene from the Promised Island, the BBC documentary looking t the newly-established Charedi community of Canvey Island. Image credit: BBC/Spring Films/Laurie Sparham
A scene from the Promised Island, the BBC documentary looking t the newly-established Charedi community of Canvey Island. Image credit: BBC/Spring Films/Laurie Sparham

Leaders of the Canvey Island Jewish community have come under criticism from locals after submitting plans for small synagogue to be built in a garden.

Rabbis for the growing community claim the small shul is needed because the elderly, disabled and parents of young children currently have to make a lengthy walk to the existing synagogue on Meppel Avenue.

But residents say they are worried about traffic, parking and noise issues and the operating hours of the shul.

Rabbi Paneth, who submitted the plans, has attempted to reassure some locals that the shul will only be used on Shabbat and on festivals meaning there will be no issue with vehicles.

With the capacity of the new premises limited the rabbi has also stressed that noise levels will also be kept at a minimum.

It is claimed that only eight properties have been notified of the plan to build the shul in the garden of a house on Furtherwick Road.

But two petitions have been set up with more than 600 signatures and more than 100 people have objected on the Castle Point Council website.

While the majority of comments raise legitimate concerns about the plan, several stray into problematic claims about the community.

More than 500 Charedi Jews have moved to the area since 2016, with many leaving Stamford Hill due to the high cost of housing.

The Paneth family issued a statement which said: “The anticipated use means there will very little car use. Given the capacity of the premises, the build design and proximity to neighbouring properties, we do not anticipate that noise will be an issue at all.

“Although we have received many positive comments, clearly, there are concerns amongst some neighbours and residents, some of whom we have already engaged.

“It transpires that much of this is based on misinformation and fear of the unknown. We plan to address these concerns and work with our neighbours and the council in a constructive manner.”

One Facebook post says “if more people just sit back and do nothing the Jewish community will get what they want.”

Another wrote:”They have done nothing but lie since they moved in.”

Meanwhile another user claimed:”We were a lovely sleepy seaside community and suddenly we are ruled by a group of people who do not respect our connection with our amazing Canvey Island.”

“We have lost our country,” complained another poster.

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