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Hundreds attend consultation on Dagenham 'mosque'

PUBLISHED: 15:14 14 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:14 14 January 2016

Eastbrook residents attend Jon Cruddas's consultation on the potential Dagenham mosque

Eastbrook residents attend Jon Cruddas's consultation on the potential Dagenham mosque

Archant

The Dagenham MP last night told about 600 people a mosque on May and Bakers Sports and Social Club's land was "definitely a no" at a lively meeting.

Jon Cruddas addresses a public consultation on potential Dagenham mosque Picture: Andrew AchilleosJon Cruddas addresses a public consultation on potential Dagenham mosque Picture: Andrew Achilleos

The remark came at a public meeting on whether the site could be used for worship on Fridays.

Jon Cruddas said Eastbrook residents were unaware of a September meeting in which council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell and Barking Mosque representatives met with club trustees, who agreed “in principle” to a building for prayer meetings.

Mr Cruddas, who held an extra consultation due to the number of people in attendance, said the community did not want the prayer room and that he would support them.

“If there’s any plans in this borough the people have a democratic right to be involved,” he said. “As of yet there’s no proposal [for a mosque].

“I would urge us not to get ahead of ourselves.”

The club’s trustee chairman, Steve Thompson, confirmed he would consider any proposals. He said: “We have never had any money from a religious community. Any proposal that would help us save money we would consider.”

Speaking from the floor, 61-year-old engineer Laurence Clarke accused Mr Thompson of disregarding a restriction preventing the land from being used for worship.

“Covenants on this land state ‘no places of worship’ so why are the trustees stating they would even consider such a proposal?” he said. “You should step down.”

He said Mr Cruddas should have tackled the problem sooner and praised Dagenham’s UKIP leader Peter Harris for forming an action committee during a previous meeting at Eastbrook pub.

Mr Cruddas accused Mr Harris of “whipping up fear” about proposals that don’t exist, but let him use his microphone to say a mosque was “not welcome”.

The MP also claimed there was no support for a mosque from Dagenham Muslims.

One Muslim, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We don’t want it [the mosque].”

Mr Cruddas concluded the meeting, saying: “The key to this is to make sure the community is involved. The concern is they don’t know what’s going on and they want transparency.”

In October Cllr Rodwell told the Post the council is not responsible for developments at the site.

At the time Mr Thompson said trustees agreed “in principle” to the possibility of siting a facility which could be used for prayer meetings but also as a multi-use area with indoor cricket space.

The club is also in talks with Elutec and the council about building an all-weather floodlit training facility.

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