The Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation have submitted a planning application for a structure that will allow them to move freely during the Sabbath.

Jewish religious law states that on the Sabbath, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, Jewish people should not carry out any work, including pushing buggies, wheelchairs or carrying anything at all is forbidden.

The Eruv provides an area within which Jewish people can get about on a Sabbath even if they are unable to walk unaided for any reason.

Kevin Leigh, spokesman for the application, believes Southend is becoming a popular destination for Jewish people moving out of London due to the cost of properties, which are considerably cheaper in south Essex.

He said: “Those of us lucky enough to live in Southend already know the quality of life by the seaside and difference in the cost of living compared to London.

“The Eruv will benefit all Jewish people living inside the notional boundary whether they are observant or not, including Jewish visitors.

“The synagogue in Finchley Road has about 600 member families and I am pleased to say growing in numbers.

“The Eruv allows everyone, ambulant and non-ambulant people to get around.”

The structure will consists of poles placed in 41 locations around Southend and Westcliff.

These will be connected by a wire. While present inside this area, Jewish people may lift and push things, something they are unable to do during the Sabbath.

The designated area will allow the Jewish residents to attend to everyday errands, visit the Synagogue and visit relatives who may be in hospital.

But some residents have raised concerns about the effect it will have on the local community.

John Wynbourn, 70, from Leigh said: “Firstly, who is going to be paying for it? That’s part of the problem as far as I am concerned and secondly do we need more road furniture?

“I understand that it allows them to move freely during the Sabbath, I just don’t know whether everyone else should be subject to it for such a small part of the local community.”

Janet Johnston, 71 from Carlingford Drive, also voiced her concern about the proposals.

She said: “I’m not happy about it.

“They want to put a pole at the end of my driveway with a wire across the road. It’s archaic. I’m questioning the justification.

“It’s only necessary for a small group of people.

“I will be writing a letter to the council.

“Most people won’t be aware of the posts they have placed around town and I want more people to know so it is open for discussion.”

The whole cost of the measure is being met by people donating to fund the installation.

It will not be funded by the council even though the poles might be on the street. It is an entirely private application like any other planning application by residents.

One prevalent concern amongst the residents was the effect on the street scene.

Mr Leigh confirmed that wherever possible existing features and street furniture will be used to support the Eruv so there will be minimal installations.

He said: “The wire connecting the tops of poles is very fine fishing type cord.

“Where a new pole is needed, it will resemble a thin lamppost without the arm with the light on.

“Therefore, the changes if any will be barely discernible and in any event not harmful, visually or otherwise.

“Like any planning application the material considerations are the law, policy and land use impact.

“The law supports equality for everyone by reference to, among other things, their religious beliefs.

“Planning policy nationally and locally supports religious beliefs and encourages mobility.”

The application states the poles are intended to be 1.05 metres high and 76mm in width.

The decision will be made by the Development Control Committee.