Jewish charity office to temporarily relocate to make way for eight-storey Gants Hill development

Plans for the eight-story building. Image: Dovetail Architects

Plans for the eight-story building. Image: Dovetail Architects - Credit: Archant

A major planning application which will see a Jewish charity temporarily move to make way for an eight-storey mixed use redevelopment has been approved.

The single-storey Chabad Lubavitch charity offices in Eastern Avenue, Gants Hill, will be knocked down under the plans.

It will be rebuilt as part of an eight-storey complex comprised of business, assembly and leisure units, in addition to 25, one, two and three-bedroom flats on the upper floors.

On the decision, a representative of one of the two applicants, Lubavitch’s Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin, said: “This is a two-year project in the making which began some five years ago.

“With the changing dynamics of the community, this redevelopment will give Chabad Lubavitch locally the opportunity to evaluate and strengthen our financial stability.

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“It does not mean the Jewish community has left – they have just moved further into Essex.

“The property is more conducive for our needs. We have not decided whether we are going to make the property bigger or smaller but that is what we will use the two years for.

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“We are building it in accordance with our specifications,” added Rabbi Sufrin.

The other applicant for the redevelopment is the Metropolitan Housing Association.

The initial planning application for the site, which is close to the junction with Perth Road, started three years ago but, due to the economic downturn, the redevelopment failed to get off the ground.

Cllr Tania Solomon, Redbridge’s deputy mayor, is relieved that the Lubavitch charity will remain in Eastern Avenue in the long-term.

She said: “They have done a lot of good work not just for Jewish people but for other religions.

“It is a good use of the space, I am absolutely positive about the move – it will be positive for the community.”

The centre will move to a temporary premises on the north side of the Gants Hill roundabout while the current site is redeveloped. Developers have been told to build the property by March 2015.

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