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Fight to save Bevis Marks Synagogue from the shadow of the skyscrapers UK News

A historic place of worship could be plunged into darkness if two skyscrapers were built next door.

Britain’s oldest synagogue is under threat and could only get an hour of direct sunlight per day if planning permission is granted for two office buildings.

The Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London has been in use for 320 years.

But now it could be permanently plunged into darkness as two new proposed towers could be built on its flanks.

Bevis Marks Rabbi Shalom Morris said: “It is a continuing story of intrusion as more buildings are constructed near the synagogue. We have reached a tipping point where every new building constructed would lead to disaster. ”

The rabbi told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the synagogue would only get one hour of sunshine per day if the new 20- and 50-story buildings were constructed 25 meters from the east windows of the synagogue.

The City of London Corporation received 1,500 objections to the proposed construction of the new office buildings – split between 500 complaints about one building and 1,000 about the other.

Due to the historic status of the building, there are limits to the number of artificial lights that can be added.

The building is lit by 240 candles and has limited electric lighting, which makes it dependent on daylight.

The lack of light could seriously disrupt worship and ultimately lead to the closing of the synagogue, according to religious leaders.

Rabbi Morris added, “The synagogue is known the world over. We would expect the City of London to be as eager to protect this as we are.

“This is a 1701 building. It is Grade I listed. As soon as you step into our courtyard, you feel like you’ve traveled back to the 18th century.

The synagogue also received the support of the former Lord Mayor of London and former member of the City of London Planning Committee, Sir Michael Bear.

He said: “I am both bewildered and perplexed at how the true heritage considerations and the impacts of wind, light and community have been handled.

“This is a complete disregard for one of the few surviving examples of an intact Wren City-style place of worship with an original interior.”

A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation said: “No decision has been made yet.

“The City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee reviews all relevant planning issues, including relevant representations both for and against a development, before making a final decision on planning requests.

“We will not comment on specific requests until a decision is made by the Committee.”

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This notice was published: 2021-09-02 09:07:02

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