Council clears Hainault community centre over licence breach claims

New North Road Community Centre trustees Dr Sohail Hameed (left) and Mr Arshad Khan.

New North Road Community Centre trustees Dr Sohail Hameed (left) and Mr Arshad Khan. - Credit: Archant

Allegations over the use of a Muslim community centre have been thrown out following a council investigation.

The New North Road Community Centre in New North Road, Hainault, has cleared its name after it was accused of breaching its lease conditions during Ramadan – a month of fasting observed within the Islamic faith.

The Redbridge Council investigation found that the multi-faith community centre, formerly known as Jacques Hall, was within its rights to use the centre for religious purposes.

The Hainault and Chigwell Muslim Association, which has operated the building since September last year, is allowed limited use for worship according to its £21,000-a-year lease.

A council spokesman said: “The investigation found that the level of worship was minimal, and therefore did not breach planning or lease terms.”

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The complaints included those from people hiring the hall who were not allowed to bring alcohol in.

The council spokesman said the terms of the lease prohibited the consumption of alcohol on the premises.

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But resident Linda Gilley, 64, of Harbourer Road, Hainault, said: “I’ve never come across a community centre where there are restrictions on what you can consume inside – I really don’t understand it, it’s so frustrating.”

The latest allegations come following concerns raised as early as November last year, when residents submitted a petition after they believed it was being used as a mosque.

Trustee Dr Sohail Hameed, 53, of Chigwell, said: “The centre is used by a Muslim group for about one hour a week on Fridays and by a Christian group for church services on Sundays.

“The people complaining will be concerned until we’ve finished our 25-year lease.” He added: “These people should be ashamed – it’s really frustrating that people are still complaining after we’ve made a building worth using again.”

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