Cllr Jeffrey Tucker: Havering Council “paid builders to take away Rainham Village school gates” worth “absolute fortune”

A Rainham councillor accused Havering Council of giving away historical school gates worth “probably thousands of pounds”.

During a debate about budget monitoring, Cllr Jeff Tucker (Rainham and Wennington, Independent Residents’ Group) alleged the council had forfeited “an absolute fortune” when it allowed school gates in his ward to be removed by builders and sold without any of the money going to the council.

He later told the Recorder he was referring to Rainham Village School, which was modernised earlier this year. The gates dated from the school’s construction in the 1920s.

Speaking in the council chamber last Wednesday (September 19), Cllr Tucker said: “School gates that are hundreds of years old and worth an absolute fortune we don’t only pay the builders to take […] away – we let them get the money when they sell them.”

Addressing other councillors’ amusement, Cllr Tucker said: “It’s a serious issue to us. We want our school gates kept in the village. We paid people to take them away, which was wrong.”

He added: “Second-hand items [...] are worth a considerable amount of money. We are paying [builders] and they are getting the money from [the gates].

“We could pay them to take them down and bring them to the town hall so we can sell them.”

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But the council denied the gates were valuable.

Cllr Michael Armstrong, cabinet member with responsibility for Rainham, said: “The school gates have been removed to open up the front and make it more accessible for everyone.

“The gates were not antique and had no value. They were standard school gates.”

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