Queen’s visit cost Barking and Dagenham Council more than £72k

The Queen visits Sydney Russell School

The Queen visits Sydney Russell School - Credit: Archant

The much-hyped visit of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to Barking and Dagenham last month cost the council more than £72,000, the Post can reveal.

The Queen on her visit to Abbey Leisure Centre in Barking

The Queen on her visit to Abbey Leisure Centre in Barking - Credit: Archant

The royal pair visited four venues on July 16 to mark the 50th anniversary of the borough, with an estimated 10,000 residents and visitors turning out to welcome the group over the day.

Although the visit has been described as “a triumph, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable day” by the Palace, it comes as the council prepares to make some of the biggest cuts in its history.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Post reveals that the council spent £30,703 on the venues, which included catering, furniture and dressing, photography and plaques.

Security at the venues racked up a £8,698 bill while infrastructure costs – toilets, marquees and security barriers – came in at £11,640.

The Queen visits Sydney Russell School

The Queen visits Sydney Russell School - Credit: Archant

A further £9,340 was spent on traffic management, transport and first aid while the council paid £5,200 for marketing and the “dressing of public spaces”.

The entertainment bill for the day was £2,070, while final miscellaneous costs of £4,708 brought the total figure up to £72,359.

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About 200 local residents and supporters were invited to attend the visit to Chadwell Heath Community Centre which kicked off the festivities.

More than 2,000 students and guests saw the party at Sydney Russell School, while two classes from Gascoigne Primary School and 60 guests saw the Queen officially open the Abbey Leisure Centre.

The visit also featured a celebration lunch at The Broadway Theatre with 150 distinguished guests from the local community, charity and business sectors.

Up to £72million is set to be slashed from the budget on top of the £53.5million cuts announced last year.

A council spokesperson said: “It was a great honour for the borough to be chosen by Her Majesty The Queen to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of the London boroughs.

“It marked a special moment in the borough’s history for all to share and it was a unique opportunity for us to show our strengths as a proud, diverse and modern borough.

“The scale of the visit, and the public interest it generated, meant the honour carried with it considerable responsibility regarding planning, crowd safety and security requirements. “However, the cost was a small price to pay for having the honour of being the only borough recognised in this way.

“The Queen’s visit was great value for money and the genuine outpouring of civic pride seen all across the borough was priceless.”

Was the Queen’s visit a worthwhile use of public money? Email mark.shales@archant.co.uk, call 020 8477 3824 and vote in our poll.

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