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A row is brewing in the London borough of Waltham Forest, where the local council has ordered a local soup run to move after 20 years in the same spot.
Christian Kitchen was called into a meeting on 14 January following a police investigation into anti-social behaviour in the local high street.
The meeting was attended by the council’s director of the public realm, Keith Hanshaw, a superintendent of the Metropolitan Police Service, and trustees and volunteers from Christian Kitchen.
Waltham Forest Council proposed two alternative sites, both of which the Christian Kitchen say are unacceptable. The first, a car park, they say will soon be in private ownership, and the second is too far away and unlit.
Organisers of the soup run have until 14 March to respond formally. However organiser Norman Coe told The Pavement: “We do not believe that Christian Kitchen Soup Van has caused anti-social behaviour or exacerbated antisocial behaviour in the area, and we are convinced it is more to do with the planned redevelopment [in the high street].”
He added: “If we cannot find an alternative site then we cannot continue to help the poor and homeless people in our community.”
A council spokesperson told The Pavement, “We know that the Christian Kitchen feel passionately about their work, which is why we have found them another site on a main bus route and in a nonresidential part of the borough close to a large supermarket.
“Whilst the vast majority of the people who use the service are law-abiding, 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 when a better non-residential site is available.”