U-turn means Chadwell Heath Muslim group can pray together

A MUSLIM group whose prayer meetings faced being cut to pave the way for changed library hours is hailing victory following a U-turn on the decision.

After pressure from Chadwell ward councillors Wes Streeting, Andy Walker and Baldesh Nijjar, The Recorder received a letter from the Cabinet member for leisure, stating the group’s “circumstances” had been recognised, and the new hours would be revised to accommodate the Friday prayer session. Cllr Sue Nolan said: “I do not believe that opening hours should be set by private groups, however, on this occasion I understand the concerns of one of the private hirers, Chadwell Heath Educational and Cultural Society.”

Cllr Wes Streeting said: “We spoke with Cllr Nolan last week and she told us she was doing everything she could to help us.

“But this is what happens when people go at things with breakneck speed, and don’t first check the consequences of actions.”

He added society chairman Malik Chowdhry was very happy with the result, but that they were looking for a permanent prayer meeting centre, as they could not be sure of how long they could use the Keith Axon Centre for.

Cllr Nolan reassured centre users that the number of library hours would stay the same.

Council officials announced the Keith Axon Centre, in Grove Road, Chadwell Heath, will be a joint library and children’s centre from April 4 in a bid to cut administrative costs, and allow youngsters using the service to benefit from the library.