December 8 2013 Latest news:
by Kay Atwal, Chief Reporter
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Newham Council has denied it plans to sell Building 1000 just four years after moving into the premises.
The council moved to the building in 2009 at a total cost of £111 million, leaving behind the premises at East Ham Town Hall in Barking Road for community groups and some council services.
It was designed to save money by bringing services from 26 different locations to a single location.
Now it is denying it has any plans to sell Newham Dockside.
A spokesman for the authority said: “Newham Council’s back office function moved here in 2009 from a large number of council buildings, many of which were not fit for purpose or were expensive to lease.
“The move was part of a wider programme to make efficiencies and savings. Moving to a single head office has enabled us to share facilities and manage resources and will have saved the council £50million by next year.
“The council will continue to review which services it operates from which locations. The Housing Benefits service currently operating from Newham Dockside will move in the new year to a new customer service centre in East Ham. It will form part of a campus that also includes East Ham Town Hall, East Ham Library and a new sixth form college. The campus will make it easier for residents to access a range of services in one place.”
The council is already renting out space to businesses at Newham Dockside to maximise revenue generation and this will continue depending on its need for office space.
Mike Law, a former Newham Councillor said the move is definitely on the cards but won’t happen until after the 2014 council elections.
He said: “They are treating money like confetti. My challenge to Newham Council is to put in your newspaper in clear and unambiguous terms exactly how much it has saved by moving into Building 1000 and to provide evidence of it. I want proof.
“With the recent investment in the Olympic Stadium and the failure of the investment in the London Pleasure Gardens there is a real question over Newham Council’s fiscal responsibility.”
The London Pleasure Gardens, close to the ExCeL exhibition centre, went into administration just a month after it opened in August last year.