London – Charedi families are fighting plans to turn part of Stamford Hill in North London into a conservation area.
The proposal by Hackney Council would restrict changes or extensions they could make to their homes — a particular problem for large families.
Such familes are among some of the 400 objecting to the designation. One opponent, Joe Lobenstein, vice-president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, has also written to the Mayor of Hackney and the Mayor of London.
Chaya Spitz, of the Orthodox charity Interlink, said: We have had lots of concerns from residents who need to be allowed to extend to allow space for large families. “Making the area a conservation area will increase overcrowding and another worrying aspect is that people will have to make improvements to their homes to meet the conservation guidelines, and that is expensive.”
Mr Lobenstein acknowledged that if the proposals are approved, some Charedim might be forced to move away. He said he would encourage residents to consider moving out of London, to areas such as Letchworth, in Hertfordshire, where a bid has been launched to regenerate the area.