The deputy leader of Harrow Conservatives accused her council of being “horrible” to a community of Jewish worshippers, after it refused to issue a parking dispensation for their High Holy Days.

Cllr Marilyn Ashton criticised Harrow Council’s decision to issue what she views as a “blanket ban” on temporary changes to controlled parking zones (CPZs).

She spoke on behalf of the Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue, which requested parking privileges for its visitors on two days at the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) and on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).

But Cllr Graham Henson, leader of Harrow Council, explained that everyone must be taken into consideration when decisions on parking are made.

“I think it would be wrong to say that it is a blanket ban, because the policy is quite clear,” he said.

“If you start making exceptions on policy, then the question is ‘why have a policy in the first place?’

“What we’ve got to realise is that residents have asked for this CPZ to come in because of restricted parking.

“We have to implement policy and to ask for exceptions is quite difficult. We can review the scheme, but it has to be open to and fair for everybody.”

Cllr Ashton described this attitude as “high handed” and “unhelpful” and urged the council to reconsider their stance for the future.

She explained that there had been no issues in the past, and said the reaction risked alienating the people who make use of the synagogue.

Parking is important to members of reform communities, as, unlike in the orthodox tradition, they are permitted to drive to their synagogues.

“We’re talking about three hours over the whole year. The residents using the CPZ don’t mind, and the council gave the synagogue permission last year,” she said.

“I can’t see what the big deal is about cutting this community a bit of slack. Because that’s what it is – a community. It’s not a commercial business seeking to profit.

“If we’re meant to be all nice and diverse, we should be helping everyone in our borough and be understanding about their needs.

“Would this have opened the floodgates? Absolutely not. There was no need for a blanket ban and I really do feel sorry for these people.”

According to Cllr Ashton, worshippers were given the alternatives of parking in a nearby field or adopting a park-and-ride system from Harrow.

She added that there was “no suggestion of anti-Semitism” in this matter; noting that, in her eyes, it was just a “lack of common sense”.