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As I hope most of you will recall, members approved a resolution at our special general meeting (SGM) earlier this year, to enter into an agreement with Camstead to sell the synagogue car park on Roman Avenue for a housing development (five detached properties), demolish the existing building and build a new synagogue for the community.

In April we appointed Ian Land of Levis Solicitors to negotiate the option agreement on behalf of Sinai, and in June we appointed Simon Nabarro of Nabarro McAllister as surveyor to provide a report on whether the deal to be entered into with Camstead represents good value for Sinai.

The purchase price for the land would be £850,000 and we would draw on this money to fund the construction of the new synagogue. Nabarro McAllister has now reported back to us and in their assessment they consider the arrangement as “...very attractive for Sinai synagogue to accept...” This part of the process was required by the Charity Commissioners as the project didn't go out to the market. We know that the £850,000 will not cover the entire cost of the new building, particularly the internal fit out, and will need to raise additional funds from a variety of sources. The Board is in the initial stages of creating a fundraising campaign for this.

In recent weeks we have arranged an exclusivity agreement with Camstead which specifies that Sinai Synagogue will not enter into any negotiations with any other developers for a six-month period whilst Camstead prepare the various reports required to take the project forward and apply for planning permission.

While the market checks were taking place, Camstead's architect has provided initial plans for the new synagogue building. These are being reviewed with Mark Manning, a local property expert, our Community Director Becky Teiger, Sinai Treasurer Bernard Nelson and a small group of members which form the Building Committee. Becky has also held a series of consultation meetings with members of the community to obtain views and feedback and has visited a number of recently built synagogues around the country to inform how our new building might look.

We anticipate that drawing up detailed plans for the whole site redevelopment, and taking it through the planning application process with Leeds City Council, will take approximately 18 months. So if all goes well, we could expect demolition and building work to begin in 2025. We are also working now on identifying a location for our temporary home while the new building is constructed.

I will continue to keep you updated and please do contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you have any specific questions or suggestions you’d like to make. 

Bernard Nelson
Hon. Treasurer, Sinai Synagogue.