06:10PM, Wednesday 13 October 2021
Maidenhead Mosque wants the needs of the Muslim community to be respected while discussions take place over the future of the Maidenhead Ivy Leaf Club site.
The mosque, in Holmanleaze, has long held plans to create a community centre on the nearby land currently occupied by the Ivy Leaf Club.
Former council leader Simon Dudley was filmed telling worshippers – days ahead of the 2019 local elections – that the local authority would allow the move to take place.
The comments attracted widespread condemnation, with Ivy Leaf secretary Tracey Moore accusing Mr Dudley of ‘making them a promise that he can’t deliver’.
The future of the Ivy Leaf Club has now been called into question again after cabinet papers revealed the council has suggested the community groups occupying the Holmanleaze site could be relocated to a new purpose-built facility in Blackamoor Lane.
If this move went ahead, the current buildings in Holmanleaze could be replaced by affordable housing and potentially new community facilities.
Sajid Khan, secretary of Maidenhead Mosque, said: “Considering the let down of the community we’ve had in the past from the previous leader who told us he would be giving us the Ivy Leaf site, we’re really hoping the council will look after the needs of the Muslim community.
“We’re a fast-growing community and have a lot of young people and we’re hoping the council will consider us favourably.
“We were looking to make a community centre and it looks like from the facilities paper the council’s plans are now for housing.”
Council leader Andrew Johnson told the Advertiser the pledges made to the Mosque by former Conservative leader Cllr Dudley did not represent the council’s formal position.
He said: “There have been detailed conversations with the Maidenhead Mosque and we have been clear that the statement Simon gave wasn’t the formal position of the Royal Borough.
“I’m certainly very sympathetic of the broad objectives but I’ve got to be respectful there are other groups.”
He said Maidenhead Ivy Leaf Club will have final say over whether it stays.
But he added this will leave the club needing to foot the bill for ongoing repair costs.
“Looking at the remainder of the lease, they are going to have to spend a fair bit of money on that building so the question we’ve put on the table is if you do want to move somewhere else we’re very happy to have that conversation and we’ll look to find a suitable facility”.
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