01:27PM, Tuesday 07 May 2019
Cllr Simon Dudley
The Ivy Leaf club secretary has hit out at council leader Cllr Simon Dudley after a video surfaced of him making ‘a promise that he can’t deliver’ about the club’s lease in a speech to the neighbouring mosque.
Tracey Moore, the secretary at the Holmanleaze club , said she was ‘shocked’ to see the footage of Cllr Dudley telling worshippers at Maidenhead Mosque two weeks ago that, if re-elected, the council would allow the mosque, run by the Islamic Trust Maidenhead, to use the land to expand on.
That pledge came despite nobody telling the Ivy Leaf club about it, and the club has no intention of surrendering its lease to the council given it still has 27 years left to run.
Cllr Dudley’s promise to the mosque can’t be enacted inside those 27 years without the club’s consent, short of a compulsory purchase order – though that does not appear to be on the cards.
In the speech held at Maidenhead Mosque on Friday, April 26, one week before the local election, Cllr Dudley said there had been discussions about ‘how we can make sure that your community has the opportunity to expand over the coming years’.
“What I as the leader of the council... guarantee to you is that as the town develops we will make sure you have the space to expand here for the education of your children and the important community worship facilities that you need.”
During the speech, which was recorded and posted online by the mosque and then widely circulated following Thursday's local election, he said the council owns the Ivy Leaf’s freehold and said ‘we are negotiating with them for them to surrender their lease’.
He pledged that no flats or developments that could get in the way of the mosque’s expansion would be built and said he had asked the council’s regeneration partner Countryside to alter plans to ensure the place of worship has space to move into.
“We have sent an agreement over that when we have control of that site we will allow the Islamic Trust to acquire that site so that you can expand here,” he said.
It is revealed in the recording that the Maidenhead Islamic Trust would have first refusal when the land becomes available.
But Tracey told the Advertiser: “Everyone is in uproar.
“(The speech) was just really for him to get the votes.
“I was quite shocked.”
She believed it was Cllr Dudley ‘making them a promise that he can’t deliver just to get the votes’ and added: “A lot of people’s thoughts are the election should be re-run because it wasn’t done right.”
The club had previously been in contact with the council and developer Countryside about relocating but no suitable sites could be found.
She said the club has had no contact with Cllr Dudley, the council or Countryside since November at the latest.
Cllr Dudley responded to say he did not need to talk to the Ivy Leaf Club about his pledge to the mosque, said the council ‘will work with them to relocate’ and was ‘quite entitled to say what our intentions are’ during an election campaign.
He said his intention had been to reassure worshippers that ‘we are not going to surround them with tall buildings and flats’ and wanted to ‘give comfort’ to the Islamic Trust Maidenhead about its future.
Sajid Khan, the secretary of the Islamic Trust Maidenhead, told the Advertiser that Cllr Dudley had been updating the mosque on the situation and expansion was sought by the trust because it is 'struggling with parking'.
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