Council leader reveals early plans to turn Dagenham Civic Centre into school
- Credit: Archant
Early plans to turn the civic centre into a school have been revealed by the new council leader.
Although only in its infancy, the idea has been touted as a way of saving money in order to protect frontline services.
Barking and Dagenham Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell said it was one of many ideas being considered after a period of consultation with staff.
In a statement to the Post just weeks after his election as leader the Labour councillor for Alibon Ward said it was a “good idea in principle”.
He said: “Since I became leader of the council, I have met with over 2000 members of staff to get their views on how we can save money in order to protect frontline services.
“One of the many ideas put forward by staff was to close the Civic as a council office and turn it into a school.
“This is a good idea and principle as the building will be an inspiring place for our children to learn and thrive. We will work with officers on this and other options and will make a decision in the near future.”
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Before any new council-funded school can be built, approval from the Department for Education (DfE) would first need to be sought.
A budget for the conversion would also have to be set by the council and alternative office space sought for the 550 staff currently working in the building at the junction of Rainham Road North and Wood Lane.
A council spokesman said it would be late August before any plans would take shape with a view to setting them before the council for September’s budget review.
A council spokesman said plans would only begin to take shape in August before the council’s budget preparations in September, ahead of the next financial year.
If the DfE does not approve the school, the council said it would consider other options but concrete plans were “a very long way off”.
It currently costs Barking and Dagenham Council £695,000 a year to maintain the art deco landmark.
Barking Town Hall, also council-owned, costs £565,000 a year to maintain.