Cemetery is granted major 1.5 million pound extension
One of Britain's biggest Jewish cemeteries is set to drastically expand after being granted planning permission to build 6,500 new burial spaces.
The four Jewish organisations that own Edgwarebury Lane Cemetery in Edgware; Belsize Square Synagogue, Liberal Judaism, Spanish Portuguese and Reform Judaism, won a planning appeal last week allowing them to extend the boundaries of the site by three hectares.
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Government Planning Inspector Jennifer Vyse, who conducted last month's four-day inquiry, upheld the appeal launched by Belsize Square Synagogue - and backed by the other Jewish parties. She said that: "The proposal does not comprise inappropriate development in the Green Belt".
She added that there was "urgent and pressing need for additional cemetery space for at least two of the communities; Belsize Square Synagogue and Liberal Judaism".
Barnet Council, which rejected the application last year, was also asked to pay partial costs for the appellants.
Keith Conway, acting for solicitors’ Clyde and Co, who represented Belsize Square Synagogue, confirmed the four Jewish groups will pay for the extension together- which is expected to cost around 1.5 million.
"In total there will be 6,500 new headstones, which will be equally divided among the groups," he said.
"The 1,600 new burial spaces for the Belsize Square community will mean it can bury its community for the next 60 years," he added.
He estimated that the council would have to pay costs, "in the tens of thousands of pounds, which includes solicitors', a barrister and landscape expert."
Belsize Square has fundraised its share of the extension, and hopes its new headstones will be ready by the start of next year.
Rabbi Danny Rich, Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism, said: "The next two generations of our members can feel secure knowing that they can have an appropriate burial in an appropriate place, indeed, in the same place as their ancestors."
Brian Colman, London Assembly member for Camden and Barnet, and Conservative council member for Totteridge, said: "I am outraged it was turned down in the first place; that was a waste of council money. This was a political decision made by the planning committee ahead of the General Election. As I said at the inquiry there were clearly special circumstances, including that people needed to be buried alongside family members."
A spokesman for Barnet Council said it spent "in the region of £11,000" fighting the case.
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