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Eruv a go go

 Published on: 12th September 2013   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

Plans to put up an aerial Jewish boundary in Bushey were given the green light by district planning chiefs last month. The application for the Eruv has divided the local community and over two hundred people attended a public meeting to discuss the application, by Bushey United Synagogue, last month. Less than two weeks later, Hertsmere Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously passed the application. During the Sabbath observant Jews are prohibited from carrying or transporting items or people in a public area. Within an area designated by an Eruv, these restrictions do not apply. The plans will see 5.5 metre high supporting poles linked with wires in 25 locations across the town. Dan Blake, speaking on behalf of the synagogue, said the Eruv would permit mobility for observant Jews with young families and the less mobile so all can play a full part in community and social activities. Mr Blake said the Eruv would have no impact on anyone else. He added: “Hertsmere Borough Council is a forward thinking borough, where its residents live cohesively side by side. Despite fears by objectors, the erection of poles will in no way create a Jewish exclusion zone.” Gay Butler addressed the meeting on behalf of Bushey residents who are against the application. She said the poles will be visually intrusive, detrimental and incompatible with existing street furniture. She commented: “The submission of the eruv is supported by the Jewish orthodox community as a benefit to their lifestyle. It has no further benefit of the wider community. This whole proposal is not based on a robust planning assessment and we submit that it must be rejected in the best interests of the whole community.” At the public meeting last month, several people expressed concern at the possible impact of the poles on a conservation area in Bushey. Cllr Carey Keates, who represents Bushey St James and chaired that meeting, said he could not understand why there was no reflection of these concerns in planning documents submitted to committee members. Seamus Quilty, who represents Bushey Heath, asked officers for clarification on whether social exclusion or inclusion was able to shape members thinking whether or not to support the application. Although some poles will be erected in green belt locations, officers say the advantage to the Jewish community is a special circumstance and outweighs any harm. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Blake said the applicants were thrilled with the outcome. By Tim Green                    

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