East London soup kitchen to move over 'safety concerns'

media captionThe soup kitchen has operated from the car park for more than 20 years

A soup kitchen operating for more than 20 years in an east London town centre has been asked to move by the council, citing anti-social behaviour.

Charity Christian Kitchen, which runs the service from a van, said it had been serving hot food from a car park in Mission Grove, Walthamstow.

Waltham Forest Council has asked the van to move to a non-residential area.

The council said there had been 58 arrests since June and residents had raised "on-going safety concerns".

Christian Kitchen said it cooked its food at a location in Forest Road before driving down to the town centre and about 50 people ate there every night.

'Magnet' for trouble

A spokeswoman from the council said last month police reported a rise in anti-social behaviour.

image captionAbout 50 people gather at the soup kitchen every night for hot food

She said: "They reported that alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour have been an issue for some time around the environs of the High Street, Walthamstow.

"We know that the Christian Kitchen feel passionately about their work, that is why we have found them another site which is on a main bus route and in a non-residential part of the borough close to a large supermarket.

"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."

But Norman Coe, co-ordinator for the charity, said: "They did say anti-social behaviour was part and that there's big investment coming to Walthamstow and I think it's possibly to try and make the area more attractive, I suppose."

The charity has been asked to move its van in the coming week.

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