October 25 2014 Latest news:
Ajay Nair, Reporter
Friday, July 25, 2014
The trustee of a community centre has insisted it is open to all, despite ongoing claims from residents that admission is restricted.
Jacques Hall, New North Road, Hainault, is leased by Hainault and Chigwell Muslim Association, but a former councillor has claimed residents have been unable to use it.
David Poole said at a June council meeting: “They [residents] complain that the policies and practices currently in place by the current occupiers prohibit them the use of Jacques Hall for the use of community purposes.”
The terms of the Hainault and Chigwell Muslim Association lease allows the centre minimal worship usage, with a Muslim group hiring the hall for Friday prayers and a Christian group hiring the space for Sunday services.
And an investigation by Redbridge Council found the group was not in breach of its lease.
The group, which is funded by donations, pays £21,000 a year on a 25-year lease and has paid for further improvements to the centre after the council contributed £122,000 towards maintenance.
Muslim Association trustee Dr Sohail Hameed, 53, of Chigwell, said: “My message to people is to come and take part in it –it’s your centre, it’s the local people’s centre, we made it for them.”
A statement from the Council said: “Our investigation found the amount of worship use was minimal and so not in breach of planning or lease terms. The Council investigates all reports of unauthorised use of buildings in the Borough.”
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