CALLS to’ rectify the situation’ surrounding a potential loss of community space have come from Maidenhead Mosque amid claims Tories have broken election promises.

Maidenhead Mosque chairman Saghir Ahmed said he and the Muslim community were “surprised and shocked” to be told the nearby Ivy Leaf was always earmarked for housing and the five community facilities north of the place of worship potentially converted into 30 affordable homes.

During the 2019 borough election, the then leader of the Royal Borough and Conservatives Simon Dudley made a speech at the Maidenhead Mosque, promising them the Ivy Leaf site if they voted blue.

Former leader of the Royal Borough Simon Dudley

Former leader of the Royal Borough Simon Dudley

The Mosque has been talking to the council for a number of years on the need to expand and build a new educational facility.

But now the new Conservative leadership is backing away from Mr Dudley’s promise and could add 30 affordable homes north of the Mosque – with a leaked report suggesting 111 homes could be built on the Ivy Leaf site.

In a community facilities review, the council is eyeing up to move the six groups into a new ‘purpose built’ building in Blackamoor Lane.

READ MORE: Six Maidenhead community groups could be moved by council

Mr Ahmed said: “The community was expecting something from the council, and they were expecting something from us.

“We said to them we will build a centre here and we put the centre on hold because we said to them ‘we’re speaking to the council regarding the Ivy Leaf site,’ and it makes sense to wait for an outcome from that discussion.

“We could then have proper planning of the site. Once that collapsed, we are still in the same position.”

He added: “There was a mistake which was made by the previous leadership, but I think the current council needs to rectify the situation.”

The chairman also said he felt “assured” the Mosque’s needs will be met following ongoing dialogue with the council, despite the Ivy Leaf no longer being an option for them, and will be holding further talks with leading councillors.

The Ivy Leaf Club

The Ivy Leaf Club

However, Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), leader of the council, said the Ivy Leaf promise to the Mosque was never a council offer and Mr Dudley did not have any “authority” to make that offer.

He said: “Did he have any authority to make that statement? No, he didn’t. There was no supporting governance behind that, it was solely him as an individual so, it wasn’t a formal council offer.

“That was Simon speaking and yeah, he was speaking then as the then leader of the council and the Conservatives, but that wasn’t a formal council position.

“But of course, he did know the Ivy Leaf was included within the local plan and what its designation was for. Needless to say, that I’m not taking forward with the proposition that Simon had because I don’t think it’s the right approach for anybody.”

READ MORE: Plans for Maidenhead community buildings revealed in leaked report

The LDRS was told an option for the six community buildings to stay where they are is on the table as this paper is to set out discussions with the users on what they want and to identify their needs if a new facility were to be built.

But Cllr Johnson said it is his “instinct” to keep the land north of the Mosque for community use, hinting the place of worship could expand there instead of developing it into 30 affordable homes.

According to a leaked report, the community buildings are in a “poor state of repair” and need “substantial investment”, suggesting the Ivy Leaf will need to spend £240,000 over the next five years in maintenance fees.

The council leader reiterated this is a scoping exercise and to present the community users with a “range of options” on what they want to do whether that be to remain on-site or relocate to a new facility.

He also said no decision has been made and the paper is going to a scrutiny panel for review and comment.