A controversial plan to construct a “religiously symbolic” 12-mile boundary around Hale and Hale Barns appears to have been revived by the local Jewish community.
A letter being sent to residents by the Hale Eruv Project Trust say they are now in a position to move forward with the plan for an “eruv” and will be submitting an application to Trafford Council “imminently”.
The eruv, which would be only the 11th of its kind in the UK, is described as a “religiously symbolic area defined by a continuous geographic route designated in accordance with ancient rabbinic principles and for the Jewish community”.
The plans would involve the erection of 95 galvanised steel poles at 50 individual sites along the 12-mile route, with the majority of the poles around six metres in height. They will be linked in pairs by nylon wire.
The proposed route would run “from the junction of Oakfield Road and Moss Lane in Altrincham; eastwards towards the junction of Canterbury Road and Clay Lane in Timperley; then southwards to Hale Street (Marriott Hotel) Hale Barns; then westwards to Bankhall Lane in Hale (near to Ashley Road junction); and northwards to Oakfield Road and Moss Lane”.
The letter explains that an eruv “allows the orthodox Jewish community to observe the laws and customs of the Sabbath while carrying or pushing certain items outside of their home. This includes pushing children in push chairs, picking up or carrying essential items and the use of wheelchairs”.
It would seek to use existing local features including roads, fences and walls but “where there is no obvious natural route, the eruv will be linked by a thin gauge wire similar to fishing line, supported by a series of pairs of slim poles”.
The letter to residents comes just over 18 months since the plans were first mooted in the area, resulting in an angry public meeting in November 2014 attended by 300 local residents.
Following the meeting, the leader of Hale’s Jewish community, Rabbi Joel Portnoy, had pledged to take the eruv plans “back to the drawing board”.
The Trust says now that its application follows a “two-year period of engagement with the local community including meetings with the Council, a pre-application report, letters to all homeowners whose homes are close to the eruv route, a public meeting attended by people from the local community, the setting up of a website where people have been able to comment on the proposals and a series of ecology, heritage, tree, traffic and environmental reports”.
It adds that it has “worked hard to fully explain what an eruv is and why it is important to the Jewish community” and has scaled back its original planned number of sites to 50 (from 54) and the number of poles to 95 (from 130).
It says the proposed eruv will have “no impact on the complexion of the community… We expect the nature of Hale to remain unchanged. The eruv has impact only on the Jewish community who wish to take advantage of it”.
The Trust says it will submit the application to Trafford Council “imminently” and has invited people to submit their views by emailing email@example.com or calling the freephone helpline number 0800 130 3353 during normal office hours.
Comments can also be made in support or opposition to the scheme to Trafford Council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – as of today, no application is appearing yet on the council’s planning website. The Trust’s letter can be read in full here, and we have contacted them for a further comment.