Soup kitchen threatened with eviction 'to make way for development' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Soup kitchen threatened with eviction 'to make way for development'
Organisers of a mobile soup kitchen say they are being evicted from Walthamstow due to a council attempt to "sanitise" the town centre of homeless people ahead of a new development.
The Christian Kitchen group has been providing hot meals seven days a week to the borough's needy at Mission Grove car park for 20 years.
But they were horrified when Waltham Forest Council and police reportedly said they must relocate by March 14 before work begins on building 121 homes and multiplex cinema at the nearby Arcade Site in April.
The council and police said they believed the soup kitchen attracted anti-social behaviour and homeless people to the area.
Mission Grove is also near the site of a proposed development with a large Morrisons supermarket and 240 flats.
But Christian Kitchen denies the claims and says the presence of homeless people is what made them choose the location in the first place.
Committee member Jennifer Ford said they were considering legal action.
She said: “If we are forced to move we will find it almost impossible to continue, and who knows what will happen to the people who rely on us.
“We have reason to believe they are looking to 'sanitise' the area ahead of the huge development taking place”.
The council has proposed the kitchen moves to a car park on the Argyle Business Estate, Leyton, however Christian Kitchen says it is also due to be sold off and redeveloped.
They say another offered alternative, behind the Chingford Holiday Inn in Walthamstow Avenue, is isolated and too far from Mission Grove.
The Guardian is awaiting a response from the council and police.
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