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Judicial review halts Christian Kitchen relocation

June 27 2013
Organisers deny Waltham Forest Council claims that their soup run causes antisocial behaviour


A row over a soup kitchen in Walthamstow, north-east London, is on hold pending a judicial review of the council’s request that it should relocate.

The Christian Kitchen has served meals to homeless people from the same spot in a town centre car park owned by Waltham Forest Council for more than 20 years.

But in November the service was asked to move by the council, which claims that it attracts antisocial behaviour to the area, damaging local businesses and disrupting residents. The council claims that 15 users of the soup kitchen are street drinkers who behave antisocially in the area on a regular basis. The council also points to a soup kitchen user who was convicted of sexually assaulting another user and sentenced in March to six years in jail.

Christian Kitchen organisers dispute the claim that the soup run contributes to these problems.

During the last week of May, law firm Irwin Mitchell sought a judicial review on behalf of the Christian Kitchen, to examine whether the council’s decision to request it relocate was lawful.

Supporters of the soup kitchen called for community organisations to join them in delivering a letter to the council demanding that they should be allowed to stay in their current location. The council has said that it will wait for the outcome of the judicial review before taking further action.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader of Waltham Forest Council, said: “The council appreciates that the vast majority of the people who use the soup kitchen are law-abiding, but the current site has sadly become a magnet for some people who want to cause trouble and we do not think that it is right that local residents should be made to feel unsafe.”

A council spokesman added: “We want the soup kitchen to remain and continue providing the service because it does a good job, but just not in the place where it is. If the judge does find in council’s favour, we’ll work with them [Christian Kitchen] to find a solution in a new location.”