Canvey Island Jewish community leaders have faced criticism from locals after submitting plans to build a small synagogue in a garden.
Rabbis from the growing community say the small synagogue is needed because the elderly, the disabled and parents of young children currently have to take a long walk to the existing synagogue on Meppel Avenue.
But residents say they are concerned about problems with traffic, parking, noise and the synagogue’s opening hours.
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Rabbi Paneth, who submitted the plans, tried to reassure some residents that the synagogue will only be used on Shabbat and festivals, meaning there will be no issues with vehicles.
With the capacity of the new premises being limited, the rabbi also stressed that noise levels will also be kept to a minimum.
It is claimed that only eight properties have been made aware of the plan to build the synagogue in the garden of a house on Furtherwick Road.
But two petitions were set up with over 600 signatures and over 100 people opposed 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, many of whom have left Stamford Hill due to the high cost of housing.
The Paneth family released a statement that said, “The intended use means there will be very little use of the car. Considering the capacity of the premises, the construction design and the proximity to neighboring properties, we do not anticipate that noise will be a problem at all.
“Although we have received many positive comments, it is clear that there are concerns among some neighbors and residents, some with whom we have already engaged.
“It turns out a lot of this is based on misinformation and fear of the unknown. We plan to address these concerns and work with our neighbors and the Council in a constructive manner. “
A Facebook post says “if more people just sit around and do nothing, the Jewish community will get what they want.”
Another wrote: “They haven’t done anything but lie since they moved in.”
Meanwhile, another user said: “We were a lovely sleepy seaside community and suddenly we were led by a group of people who disrespect our connection to our amazing island of Canvey. “
“We have lost our country,” complained another poster.