Brent Council could use Preston Library and Stonebridge Day Centre as temporary classrooms

Empty buildings could help with school places crisis in the borough

A former library and an empty community centre could be used as temporary classrooms as Brent Council explores possibilities to create much-needed school places for pupils.

Preston Library, in Carlton Avenue East and the empty Stonebridge Day Centre in Twybridge Way, Stonebridge, are among sites being considered for temporary bulge classes.

Both buildings have lain empty since their services were disposed of as the council battles to save �100million over four years.

Last year, the local authority estimated an extra 692 reception places could be needed by 2020.

However, despite agreeing to invest �21million of its own money and being awarded nearly �50million from the government to create extra places – funds still fell short of what was needed to meet demand.

The plans, passed at an executive meeting on Monday, agreed that work will now begin to assess which sites to develop.

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Consultation is also underway at three primary schools with a view to create 120 permanent places.

It was also noted that consultation was underway at three primary schools with a view to create 120 permanent places, a move which will cost �14.9m.

Cllr George Crane, Brent Council’s Lead Member for Regeneration and Major Projects, said the council faced a ‘major challenge’ because of rising demand for school places.

He said: “We are not just looking at expanding established schools but also considering utilising empty council buildings.

“The council takes this situation very seriously. We are doing everything we can, working as quickly as possible and in partnership with local schools, to create more places for local children.

The proposals would need to be agreed by governors and given planning permission before any extra classrooms could be built.