POOLE council is developing plans to relocate an adult learning centre and build up to 80 homes in its place.

Cabinet members will discuss the future of the Oakdale Centre at a meeting next week.

The building needs a “considerable amount of work”, according to a report by head of culture and community learning Kevin McErlane.

Around £500,000 needs to be spent on essential maintenance within the next five years, including electrical, mechanical and roof repairs.

Two options will be explored when an outline business case is prepared for the site.

The first option would see the council deliver a 100 per cent affordable housing scheme on the current Oakdale Centre site, with up to 80 homes. A replacement adult learning centre would be built on adjoining land on Darby’s Lane.

The second option would see the current site sold on the open market, with capital raised used to fund a new adult learning facility.

A similar number of residential units could still be built, but the developer would only be obliged to provide 40 per cent affordable homes.

Mr McErlane said due to the current centre’s condition, “there is no do nothing option”.

“Oakdale is the [Skills and Learning] service headquarters and is a very well used learning location critical to the performance of the service. The buildings are considered inadequate to the needs of a modern learning service with no scope to develop additional services.

“Proposed timelines for the project will be developed as part of the business case but the project would be phased across several years and it is likely that there would be some essential maintenance costs during this time to sustain service continuity.”

The Oakdale Residents Community Association (ORCA) currently occupy an office, storage area and part-time community café within the main building.

Ward councillors have asked that an alternative community meeting space is provided in the replacement adult learning centre, which will meet the needs of ORCA and other local groups.

The Oakdale Centre is the busiest site operated by the Skills and Learning service, which provides training and learning opportunities for over 5,600 people in Dorset.

It is planning to offer more distance/e-learning courses in future to supplement classroom teaching.

Mr McErlane added the service would “ensure a new centre is a flexible space that can be readily adapted to meet evolving technological and learning trends.”