Over the past two weeks many residents have been contacting Jon Cruddas regarding the proposed plans to build a mosque on the Sanofi site near Dagenham East. Last month the Trustees of the May and Baker Community Club were approached by Barking & Dagenham Council on behalf of Barking Mosque, and a meeting took place with council Leader Cllr Darren Rodwell, along with a member of the council planning department. A general proposal was been agreed in principle with little or no consultation with local residents. Jon Cruddas MP is an honorary member of the May and Baker Community Club, and local Cllrs Mick McCarthy and Tony Ramsay are trustees of the club but all were absent from the meeting, unable to provide feedback on the proposal.

Jon Cruddas commented: “I’m disappointed that it has fallen to rumour and speculation to bring this to my attention without the courtesy of informing me, or local residents.”

Back in 2012 when the pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Aventis announced it was closing its Dagenham factory, Jon Cruddas worked closely with the company to ensure that they took on their corporate social responsibility and their responsibility to the local community. The ‘legacy plans’ plans were to develop the site into an East London business hub, attracting investment to Dagenham and providing thousands of jobs for local people. Since the ‘legacy plans’ were put in place Dagenham has suffered some huge blows; closures at the Ford factory back in 2013 meant 750 job losses, and the disappointment with few jobs on offer at the new Rainham Tesco depot did little to compensate. Sainsbury’s have also revised their agreement for the Sanofi site, which has cost potential jobs. Whilst the current proposal does not directly relate to the Sanofi regeneration site, but the May and Baker Community Club, it is still in the same vicinity, making up part of the encompassing complex.

Jon Cruddas explained: “We need to be doing our best for the residents, promoting job creation and attracting investment to Dagenham. During a long consultation by Sanofi the people of Dagenham were promised these things. We shouldn’t abandon local regeneration goals just because a few businesses have knocked back use of the site. I think we should be looking at all possible avenues that have the potential to bring local jobs for local people on this site and in the surrounding area.”

Over the next week Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham & Rainham will be contacting the May and Baker Community Club board to ask what the plans for the site are. Jon said: “In normal circumstances I am not averse to a religious building of any denomination being built, as long as the plans have gone down the proper consultation channels with the public.”

Jon Cruddas highlighted that he will be meeting with Chris Naylor, the Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham Council at the earliest convenience to discuss the issue. As with every major change that faces Dagenham, Jon will be launching a public consultation over the coming weeks to see what people think about the proposals. As part of the consultation Jon will also be looking to hold a public meeting to speak directly with local residents in Eastbrook and the immediate area.