Former Dagenham library and Royal British Legion club could become SEND school

An old library that was formally a private members’ club for Royal British Legion members in Dagenham could be turned into a new SEND (special educational needs and disabilities ) provision for children and young adults who are currently being home-schooled because there isn’t enough appropriate educational facilities in the borough.

The Old Rectory Library, which is located on Rectory Road is a council-owned building that was originally used as a library until it closed in 2010.

In 2016, Barking and Dagenham Council leased the former library out to local members of the Royal British Legion but the building has been vacant since March 2020.

The council is now looking at plans to transform the site into an alternative school for kids with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) who are aged between five to 18 years old.

Last month (April 19) Renew Planning Limited, a property and development consultancy, submitted an application for full planning permission on behalf of the council.

Tim Waters from Renew Planning said the plans would provide a ‘much-needed educational support’ that would support the ‘wellbeing and resilience of children and young people’.

Mr Waters said children with SEND are currently being taught at home because there is a lack of appropriate educational provision in the borough.

He went on to say: “The application proposal responds to an identified educational need for an additional children’s resource centre in the area and would contribute positively towards achieving the objectives set out in the council’s Education and Participation Strategic Plan 2023-2026.”

The plans would see the re-purposing of the building and a single storey extension as well as an additional metal enclosure and a staircase to a proposed rooftop plant area.

The plans are currently in the consultation stage, meaning the public will be invited to share their views on the plans.

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Ruby Gregory

Local Democracy Reporter