The United Synagogue has reacted to planners’ approval of a new Jewish burial site in north-west London which could save Jewish families hundreds of pounds a year.
A previous Hertsmere Council decision refusing permission was overturned last week, paving the way for developers County Group to offer subscriptions from £240 per year – half the cost of some existing shul-based schemes.
In addition, some Jewish families stand to save much more, because the new service will not require synagogue membership, which can cost several hundred pounds.
News of the decision has delighted many cash-strapped London Jews, but caused a flutter of dismay in other quarters, with concern expressed that the process of burial should be based on support, not simply plot price.
A spokeswoman for the United Synagogue’s Burial Society said: “Support structures are inseparable from our family of local shul communities.”
She added: “It is of enormous importance to our members to know that their loved ones will be cared for by a community that has been with them since childhood.”
However the new scheme, on the site of the A1 Shooting Ground, will “give people a choice of burial rights they haven’t had for generations before,” said County Group chief executive Simon Patnick.
He said the site, which has space for 7,000 graves, will be ready next year, and that there is “room for expansion” at a later stage.