David Lammy backs Civic Centre fight

David Lammy with supporters

David Lammy with supporters - Credit: Archant

Prospective London Mayoral candidate David Lammy threw his support behind the campaign to save Dagenham’s Civic Centre when he visited the borough on Saturday.

David Lammy addresses supporters

David Lammy addresses supporters - Credit: Archant

The Labour contender spoke on the steps of the Rainham Road North building alongside Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas.

The centre is believed to be earmarked for conversion into a school by Barking and Dagenham Council – despite indications last year that the proposal had been dropped under the weight of resistance.

Its conversion has been suggested as a means of finding savings for frontline services amid £53.5million cuts.

“Dagenham Civic Centre should remain a public building,” Mr Lammy told crowds.

David Lammy with Jon Cruddas

David Lammy with Jon Cruddas - Credit: Archant

“The people of Dagenham have made it clear how important the Civic Centre is to them and their community – many of you have called it the heart of Dagenham.

“Selling off the Civic Centre would be a permanent solution to a short term budget shortfall.”

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Mr Cruddas, who has led the fight, said it was great to have the support of a potential future mayor and gave his own personal backing to the Tottneham MP’s campaign.

“I am a strong supporter because he has the most ambitious housing plans of all the candidates and will directly benefit local people,” he said.

“I also loved his book Out of the Ashes and his response to the riots in his constituency.

“He is young and has energy and will unite the city.”

The former innovation, universities and skills minister is competing against Diane Abbott, Dame Tessa Jowell, Sadiq Khan, Gareth Thomas and Christian Wolmar for the Labour candidacy and made the trip as part of his 20/20 tour – visiting 20 boroughs in 20 days.

“The borough of Barking and Dagenham is inspiring in its commitment to keep building social housing,” added Mr Lammy.

“As mayor, I will get homes built not by creating another quango, but by issuing up to £10 billion in London Housing Bonds to fund 30,000 new social homes for Londoners

“When a London borough builds new council homes, that borough should get to keep some of the savings it makes in housing benefit.”