Waltham Forest Council has said it will review the findings of a High Court ruling which found it had acted unlawfully in trying to evict a soup kitchen for the homeless.
Earlier today Mrs Justice Ingrid Simler ruled that the Christian Kitchen can remain at its Mission Grove site, despite the council’s claim that anti-social behaviour linked to the service reaches as far back as 2011.
The authority served an eviction notice to the kitchen last year, offering an alternative venue at a lay-by near the Crooked Billet roundabout, but Justice Simler ruled the move unlawful.
She said the council did not properly consider the likely impact the decision would have on the vulnerable people and failed “to accord with reality”.
Deputy council leader, Clyde Loakes, has vowed to work with the charity on a way forward.
He said: “We are disappointed by the judge’s decision but will review the findings and continue to talk with Christian Kitchen to find a way forward for both users of the kitchen and residents nearby.
“The court has recognised our concerns, which are supported by police information, around the anti-social behaviour linked to the soup kitchen, and our focus on ensuring the safety of local people and those raising families in the area still stands.
“We appreciate that the 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.”
The council said it will continue to monitor criminal activity in the area and is able to appeal the decision.
Pointing to a series of convictions and anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), the authority says troublemakers frequent the soup kitchen, including 15 “core street drinkers” to whom 58 arrests since June 2012 can be attributed.
Christian Kitchen organisers said moving the service would have likely resulted in its closure, because the proposed site was unsafe and unsuitable, as well as hard to reach for those who use it.
Just Simler said the council’s position that there was no evidence to suggest the relocation would affect users’ ability to access the kitchen “fails to accord with reality of common sense”.