A SYNAGOGUE’S application to extend its opening hours has been partially accepted – despite objections from neighbours.

The Shaarei Mordechai synagogue, in Bury New Road, Prestwich, which can currently open from 7am to 11pm, claimed there is ‘now a greater demand for earlier prayers’ and applied to open from 6am until midnight.

A similar application to Bury Council to extend the openings times was refused in 2019 on grounds that it would have an unacceptable impact on neighbours.

A supporting statement from the synagogue, said: “The opening hours are no longer suitable in that there is now a greater demand for earlier prayers, particularly in the period prior to the Jewish New Year and up to Yom Kippur.

“This occurs at slightly different times each year but usually for a two week period in September or October.

“Prayer sessions are not accompanied by music and there is no singing apart from the Sabbath.”

An acoustic report was also submitted with the application of daytime and night-time noise levels near the synagogue during its proposed extended operating hours.

Objections were received from some properties on neighbouring Queens Drive and Rochester Avenue.

Issues reported included ‘already considerable noise from car doors banging before 7am and well after midnight and parking is limited’ and ‘worshippers have conversations late at night and early morning outside the house disrupting our sleep’.

In a report to councillors, planning officers stated: “It is considered the existing opening hours of the synagogue, from 7am to 11pm are appropriate to its site and surroundings and later opening throughout the year, would cause significant harm to the residential amenity of neighbours.

“In recognition of the issues here, a degree of mitigation could be achieved to restrict the extended opening periods to those related to the religious festival period between Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and Yom Kippur and the period of late sundown in June and early July only.

“All other times of the year, normal prayer and study times would be restricted to those previously approved.”

Councillors on Bury Council’s planning committee agreed a compromise on the hours and agreed that the synagogue could open from 6.30am until 11.30pm throughout the year.