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Battle over unlawful use of land as mosque finally ends after six years

An unlawfully operating mosque has been closed by the London Borough of Newham after a six-year legal process.

The High Court refused an application by the owners of the Abbey Mills Riverine Centre site in Stratford to suspend an injunction granted to Newham in May to stop it being used as a place of worship and to clear structures illegally built over two decades.

Newham was awarded costs of £22,207 which must be paid within four weeks.

The council said: “We expect the owners of the site to comply fully with the requirements of the injunction. We will monitor activity and correspond with the owners to affirm expectations as to when the required work will be completed.”

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Daniel Fenwick, director of legal and governance at One Source - a joint legal team of Newham, Havering and Bexley councils - said a trust bought the land in the late 1990s and began its unlawful use as a mosque.

Fenwick said Newham obtained an injunction to enforce an undertaking made by the trust in 2011 that they would cease the use of the land and demolish any development on the site. 

That though was stayed pending various appeals, which were finally dismissed by the Court of Appeal in July 2017. 

The trust then applied unsuccessfully to stay enforcement of the injunction for a further 12 months.

Mark Smulian

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