Town Hall chiefs agree to sell former Dagenham depot to make way for new special school

Cllr Dominic Twomey described the sale of the site as a 'win win'. Picture: LBBD

Cllr Dominic Twomey described the sale of the site as a 'win win'. Picture: LBBD - Credit: Archant

The council has agreed to sell its old depot to make way for a new special school.

The site in Wantz Road. Picture: Google

The site in Wantz Road. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Councillors agreed the disposal of its Pondfield House Depot in Wantz Road, Dagenham, at a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, March 17.

Cllr Dominic Twomey, presenting the idea to cabinet chiefs, said: “This is a win, win.”

The local authority has agreed the sale for an undisclosed sum to LocatED, the government owned property firm responsible for buying sites for new schools in England.

The site is due to be developed into a special school for pupils with severe learning difficulties and autism.

The land, where the council used to keep its fleet, was freed up after Barking and Dagenham bought the Londoneast-uk site in Rainham Road South and moved its vehicles there.

Cllr Twomey explained that there are “fantastic” special schools in the borough, including Trinity in Dagenham and Riverside Bridge in Barking, but demand for places for children with special educational needs and disabilities is growing.

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“It’s fantastic that it’s looking fairly advanced that [LocatED] will purchase the site, and that’s the win win.

“We will receive a significant capital sum of money from [LocatED]. They will build a special educational needs school on that site which is very central and very accesible,” Cllr Twomey added.

A central location meant the cost of transporting youngsters to the new school would also be lower compared to building schools in the “far reaches” of Barking and Dagenham.

The Town Hall has already negotiated a peppercorn lease with LocatED which means the firm will take over the site while the sale and planning application proceeds.

Cllr Twomey said the agreement would spare the council having to pay for the cost of securing the land so it doesn’t fall foul of fly-tipping.

“It’s a huge site and space which carries a lot of opportunities for people to do that,” he added.

A downside is that the council would lose money gained from charging to park at the site, but that was a relatively “small” amount, Cllr Twomey said.

Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “We try and do the best we can. Having a school for young people who are unique in their own way is a good use of that land.

“I look forward to the rest of the redevelopment of the area.”