A prospective UKIP London Assembly candidate is calling on the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council to come clean about plans to build a new mosque on greenbelt land in the Borough.
Peter Harris issued a statement demanding Cllr Darren Rodwell publically state what is intended for land currently leased from the Council by the May and Baker Community Club, within the Eastbrook ward, after being questioned by concerned residents who heard about the plans through rumour and hearsay.
Mr Harris, a trustee of the May and Baker Community Club, revealed he was aware of a meeting that had taken place on 28 September between Cllr Rodwell, the chair of the trustees and a member of the planning committee in which it was proposed that a mosque be built on a 54 acre site currently sitting adjacent to the Eastbrookend Country Park.
In his statement, Mr Harris said: “News has filtered out and as a UKIP Candidate I have been approached by a number of very concerned residents.
“I naturally understand the concerns of the local residents regarding this possible mosque siting. How big will it be? How many people will use it? Who will use it? Will it include a Muslim school? Will it affect the park wildlife?
“The fact they are hearing this via hearsay and rumour and not from the Council itself is disgraceful.”
The Council and Cllr Rodwell were contacted to comment on the proposals but, as the meeting was a meeting of trustees of the May and Baker Community Club and not a council meeting, they said it was not a Council issue.
A spokesperson for the Council said: “This is a matter for the trustees of the May and Baker Eastbrook Community Club.”
While Mr Harris was not present in the meeting, he has seen the minutes and believes it is up to Cllr Rodwell to consult with ward councillors and members of the public on this issue.
Mr Harris said: “I haven’t expressed an opinion on the mosque, the only opinion that I have expressed is that the people need to be aware of what’s going there, or what is possibly being proposed.
“At the moment word has got out and you’ve got a rumour going around the area very quickly about inaccuracies, about things that may or may not even happen or be on the plans and people are getting very upset about what possibly may or may not be built there.
“It’s the duty of the Council to come clean, speak to the ward councillors and open a form of communication to the residents to let them know what’s planned.”