Councillor backs residents’ battle to save historic Southport landmark

20th January 2018

A campaigning councillor is urging residents to help preserve a landmark Jewish synagogue which has been in the town for more than 90 years.

Sefton council is due consider an outline planning application for the redevelopment of the building on Arnside Road to 18 self-contained flats.

Cllr David Barton, who represents Dukes Ward, spearheaded the campaign to preserve the building, which was built in 1926 and more than 100 objections to the plans have so far been set to the council planning department.

It has also been revealed that the building has the potential to be a good environment for bat species, which may also prevent developers moving in.  

Cllr Barton, a leading campaigner for the preservation of Southport’s heritage, said: “I would like to thank all the local residents and businesses who have supported us and hope the applicant may reconsider a more appropriate site for the proposed housing development.

“It would be great if the building was retained in all its glory for the benefit of local residents and prospective visitors also ranging from worshippers to architecture and fine arts students. 

“Having lost multiple impressive fascia frontage buildings along Lord Street including the former fleet of cinemas such as the Canon and Odeon and Palladium over the decades now is the time to reverse this negative trend and make the most of Southport’s unique heritage, which will be equally valued by generations to come.

“Whilst the official consultation is now over I would encourage anyone who may yet wish to support us to get in touch and additionally put their views forward to Sefton council planning department.” 

The synagogue has been a structural landmark with a fascia reminiscent of the original frontages along Lord Street.

Cllr Barton said: “As this is a local and national keystone treasure I would encourage any potential philanthropists and historical groups to get in touch if there is a possibility of supporting the ongoing maintenance of the building, so it may be enjoyed by many local people and visitors from outside Southport.”

As a port, Liverpool was an obvious stopping-off point for Jews throughout history, many of whom were fleeing persecution. During the 18th century there were more Jews in Liverpool than anywhere outside London.

Eventually, many moved up to nearby Southport and Jewish figures have played a leading part in the town’s history.

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