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Watford Observer

Hertsmere MP James Clappison backs Jewish eruv bid across Bushey

James Clappison: eruv is a

James Clappison: eruv is a "non issue".

Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author

Reported by Kathryn Snowdon

Senior Reporter

Published / News

Hertsmere’s Member of Parliament says the proposal to create a new religious boundary is a "non issue".

James Clappison’s comments come after an application was submitted to Hertsmere Borough Council to build a Jewish eruv.

If the proposals are approved, large metal poles connected by wire could be constructed around 25 locations across Bushey.

On the Sabbath day, Jewish Law prohibits the carrying or transportation of items such as wheelchairs, pushchairs and handkerchiefs.

These restrictions will not apply inside the 5.5 metre-high poles, which will represent the eruv.

Mr Clappison said: "My experience is that it’s something that’s largely forgotten."

The poles, with adjoining wires, will connect existing local features such as fences or walls alongside roads or terraced buildings.

An eruv was built in neighbouring Borehamwood in 2010.

Mr Clappison, who serves as vice chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel group, said the Borehamwood eruv seems to have made no impact on people at all.

He said: "In Borehamwood it is something which is largely forgotten. It’s not an issue at all in any shape or form."

He added: "It’s a non issue that will be forgotten over time."

Yet the recent planning application to erect an eruv in Bushey has received criticism from some residents, who feel it might make the area less multicultural and stymie diversity.

The application was submitted by United Synagogue, of Ballards Lane, London, on behalf of Bushey United Synagogue.

The Sparrows Herne synagogue currently has a membership of more than 3,000 people - approximately 12.5 per cent of the total population of Bushey.

Spokesmen from the Bushey United Synagogue say installing an eruv is important for the future of their community, as it is designed to prevent the decline in the Jewish population, rather than increase numbers.

Supporters of the application also say that they do not believe this will have an adverse impact on those of other religions, as they will probably not even notice that it is there.

The Hertsmere representative said he is not aware of any controversial or adverse impact the eruv has had in Borehamwood.

As well as Borehamwood, eruvs have been erected in neighbouring Edgware and Stanmore.

Mr Clappison said he believes this is a planning issue and that if people are concerned, they should express their views to Hertsmere Borough Council.

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