Ukip holds public meeting to discuss Dagenham community centre plan

Dagenham Ummah Welfare Trust in Hewett Road, Dagenham.

Dagenham Ummah Welfare Trust in Hewett Road, Dagenham. - Credit: Archant

The borough’s Ukip leader has called for a public meeting after accusing a community centre of operating “illegally” in a shop premises.

Peter Harris says he and his supporters “absolutely reject” a pending retrospective planning application which would allow a shop in Hewett Road, Dagenham to become a tuition centre with community welfare activities.

It has been running in this capacity under the Dagenham Ummah Welfare Trust since 2009.

“What I’m against is that a shop will be lost to a community centre or place of worship,” Mr Harris said.

“I think the council should be doing more and should have a more robust process to protect local businesses.”

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The controversy comes just a fortnight after Mr Harris demanded a judicial review over an application to convert a former post office in Dagenham to a mosque.

The Planning Inspectorate overturned the council’s rejection, meaning that work on the Rainham Road South site could go ahead.

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“It sets a dangerous precedent,” said Mr Harris.

A spokesman for the trust denied that it was being used as a place of worship.

“DUWT does not intend to use the premises as a place of worship, accordingly, the planning application is only for a community and tuition centre,” he added.

“In the recent past, some users of the centre have utilised the premises for Friday prayers, however we are working with the council on it and, under their guidance, use of the premises for Friday prayers is being discontinued.”

The public meeting will take place at the Dagenham Roundhouse in Lodge Avenue tomorrow at 7.30pm. To take part in the consultation , visit by Monday.

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