Campaigners against Dagenham Civic Centre herald small victory
PUBLISHED: 14:36 26 March 2015 | UPDATED: 17:16 27 March 2015
Campaigners fighting against the redevelopment of Dagenham Civic Centre have heralded a victory after persuading a council committee to carry out further research into its viability – although the council insist that the decision to turn the building into a school still stands.
A petition signed by 3,700 objectors prompted a two hour debate after it was presented to the public accounts and spending select committee on Wednesday.
Members later agreed to defer their decision on the petition pending further information.
This will include a breakdown of where current primary and secondary school age children live, projected data over the next 10 years and a review of other possible sites that could be used.
Other information will include a report on how a school would run in terms of costs and reaching.
Labour MP candidate for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, who has led a campaign against the centre’s redevelopment, has welcomed the progress.
“It opens up the conversation to look at the facts; delving into the viability and sustainability of the decision to convert the building to a school,” he said. “This debate is not just about bricks and mortar – it is about recognising the history and traditions of Dagenham.”
Mr Cruddas organised a candlelit vigil to last week which attracted 400 protestors and has vowed to step up his campaign to save the centre in the coming weeks and months.
A spokesman for the council said: “The decision to close the Civic and convert it to a school as taken by the Cabinet in December 2014 stands.”