Ambitious project to build ‘landmark’ synagogue in Clapton Common given green light

PUBLISHED: 14:01 12 April 2018

An artist's impression of the synagogue. Picture: John Stebbing Architects

An artist's impression of the synagogue. Picture: John Stebbing Architects


An ambitious project to build a cube-like synagogue in Clapton Common was approved last week.

The scheme will see the current synagogue, formerly The Swan pub, demolished and replaced with a modernist three-storey structure.

Architects at John Stebbing are behind the ambitious plans, but the grill-effect on one side of the building has caused complaints from neighbours about the light leaking from the building.

Consequently, it has taken years of alterations to get approval for the project.

Councillors on the planning committee signed off the scheme on Wednesday night, though they did impose a number of conditions including the need for more detailed information on the lighting.

As well as neighbours, the Clapton Conservation Area Advisory Committe (CAAC) had raised concerns about lighting.

They said: “It is clear that the applicant is specifically intent on devising a landmark building whose prominence is to be highlighted through both design and lighting but this gives little regard to the appropriateness in this sensitive setting.”

The Bobov-45 community originally come from Bobowa, in present day Poland. Bobof-45 are an offshoot of the Bobof Hasidic community, the 45 referring to 45th Street in Brooklyn, New York, where their main synagogue is situated.

They took over the building in 2009 after the closure of The Swan.

The building has been around since about 1826 as a pub, and the building before that was said to be a coaching inn dating from the 18th century.

Architecturally, a report describes the new plans as “a simple, limestone clad building with a decorative, gold metal curtain feature wall to the principal southern elevation that creates a strong visual termination in views north along Clapton Terrace”.

It adds: “The feature wall comprises a bronze coloured anodised aluminium clad inner screen, which is punctuated by a series of tall arched windows in dark grey anodised aluminium.”

Hackney planning officers had recommended the report for approval before councillors agreed.

They wrote in their report: “The proposed building is of an appropriate scale and massing and the juxtaposition of old and new is seen as positive in this context.”

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