Work gets underway on Riverside to Barking walking and cycling route

Work gets underway this week to introduce a walking and cycling route between Barking and Barking Riverside.

The 7km Cycleway is designed to improve the connection between the two growing neighbourhoods, creating streets that are much more welcoming, easier and safer to cross for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

New ‘continuous’ pedestrian crossings will give priority to people travelling on foot and new signage will direct cyclists away from busy main roads between Barking and Barking Riverside, providing a safer, faster and more direct alternative. The proposed upgrades include:

  • an improved walking and cycling crossing on Bastable Avenue to provide safer and easier access to Thames View Junior and Infant School and local businesses
  • new ‘continuous’ pedestrian crossings at the junction of St Awdrys and Eldred Road, and
  • links to the Cycle Superhighway 3 (Barking to Tower Gateway) and the walking and cycling route at Ripple Greenway in Barking Riverside

These measures are being introduced by Be First, on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, following a consultation by Transport for London (TfL). The Cycleway is the latest phase of a project to connect the areas with Ilford Town Centre, where an Elizabeth line station is due to open in 2022.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “We know that many more people would cycle if there was less traffic and better, safer routes, so this Cycleway will be a real boost to the borough.  It provides a safe, quiet option between Barking Riverside and Barking town centre as well as good connections to the route into central London”.

Further measures to improve facilities for cyclists at Barking Station and Wakering Road will follow shortly.

You can see the full route map here:  Barking Town Centre to Barking Riverside cycle and walking route map.

Industria revolution in River Road

Proposals to create modern business spaces of the future in the River Road Employment Area in Barking were given the thumbs up by Barking and Dagenham councillors at a planning committee meeting this week (16.02.21).

Industria – the brainchild of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm – will be a high-tech business hub, situated just yards from both the Thames and Roding rivers. It could host a wide range of industries, such as a winery, specialist food production, jewellery makers and green industries,

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, hailed the decision as another sign of the good times to come for Barking and Dagenham.

He said: “This is the sort of attractive and sustainable industrial development which will no doubt create quality jobs and a place where wine makers, artists and artisans will be able to thrive alongside more traditional trades.

“It’s another boost to this booming part of London which is increasingly seeing forward-thinking entrepreneurs and businesses make their way here.”

The development is supported by £1m of the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), which will be invested alongside Barking and Dagenham Council’s investment of £33m.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “I’m pleased to support this innovative and ambitious project – which is the first of its kind in London – and I look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to the local economy in Barking and the wider area.”

Lily Kwong, Development Manager at Be First, said: “We’ve had a great deal of interest in this site which will be a fantastic place for ambitious businesses to base themselves, with a great location, excellent facilities and sustainability built-in.”

The development at the corner of Long Reach Road and Creek Road, Barking, will house tenants in flexible units arranged around a vehicle accessible multi-storey hub.

The experience for visitors and neighbours will be enhanced by green walls, business lounge, lively shopfronts and a new local café.

Importantly, Industria is expected to provide jobs for up to 250 people.

Key features:

  • four storey core buildings arranged each side of the courtyard
  • Flexible light industrial units from from 1700-5200 sqft (160-475 sqm) and flatted factory units from 140-2500 sqft (15-230 sqm)
  • Goods lifts and vehicle ramp with vehicle access across three floors
  • Business centre, meeting rooms and staffed reception
  • Fully glazed ground floor shop units with a cafe – open to the public
  • On-site parking and cycle parking
  • Excellent BREEAM rating for sustainability and environmental impact
  • Top quality landscaping
  • An estimated 230-250 people employed on site

Building work at the site is expected to start in the Summer 2021.

Barking set to be home to inspirational east end street art

A street style mural depicting Barking’s rich history will adorn the side wall of McDonald’s Restaurant in East Street this summer.

The initial design by Jake Attewell was voted the Winner of the Heritage Wall Commission competition, which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Barking Town Heritage Project and ran by Be First on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

The winning piece, entitled ‘Barking’s Lost Heritage’, was voted the winner out of 14 submissions by a short-listing panel, including Council and Be First staff, Heritage Volunteers, and members of the local community.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing said: “This is an inspirational modern take on Barking’s rich and diverse past and I am convinced it will be a real winner with the public.”

David Harley, Head of regeneration at Be First said: “Barking is fast becoming known as one of London’s arts and creative hotspot and this outstanding piece I am sure will become a real landmark – a modern take on the town’s history!

Jake, who graduated from Arts University College Bournemouth and has been a professional mural artist for five years has already had some of his work displayed in east London with one of his most recent mural commissions – his Clara Grant mural in Bow, for the London Mural Festival, last autumn.

Jake said: “I am extremely honoured to have been chosen to complete The Barking Heritage Mural Project. I’m very much looking forward to getting started as it is such a great location and I believe I can create something that Barking residents can be really proud of.”

Residents will get the opportunity to choose the final design to be painted on the Heritage Wall, in Short Blue Place, Barking, by taking part in a vote organised by the artist and there will be opportunities for local people and students to engage with him throughout the process.

And Tamara Fround (a mosaic artist) has also been awarded a commission to create a mosaic heritage trail in the paving, linking historic Barking (Town Quay, Abbey Green & Curfew Tower) with the Heritage Wall mural in Short Blue Place.

Consultation gets underway on unique ‘One Borough’ development

Residents of the Andrew’s Corner neighbourhood on the Becontree Estate are being invited to give their views about a unique housing and community development at Brocklebank Lodge.

Leaflets have been distributed to 500 residents asking for comments on the council’s latest proposals for replacing the former old people’s home in Becontree Avenue.  The initial plan is for a new development of 53 affordable new homes for local people and a community space.  It could also include approximately 15 supported homes for disabled people which could be let to people who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Marcia Kirlew, Development Manager at Be First, said: “We’re very interested to hear what local people think about our ‘one borough’ development.  As well as providing much-needed affordable homes to the area, it could provide supported housing for disabled people and a community space.

“We are particularly keen to find out how local people would like to use the community space – it could provide spaces to read and learn, for example, or an area to be active and socialise.”

The consultation runs until 28 February and more details are available here.

We’re delivering local jobs for local people

Around 20 per cent of all construction staff working on Be First developments in Barking and Dagenham live in the borough according to new figures released today from Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm.

As of today (8 February), 231 workers out of 1,150 who have started work across Be First’s 11 development sites, are based locally.

Tom Mather, Construction Director at Be First, said: “We insist our contractors look to employ local people as part of our commitment to socially inclusive regeneration.

“We’re not just about bricks and mortar at Be First, we’re about hearts and minds too – which means we’re delivering great homes and job opportunities for local people.”

The jobs news comes as Be First celebrates National Apprentice Week.

Almost ten per cent of its Be First’s workforce are trainees or apprentices.

Sarah O’Connor, who is an apprentice Trainee Development Manager, was born and bred in Barking.

Sarah has worked at Be First for two years and is currently undertaking a degree apprenticeship in building surveying.

She said: “Be First has provided me the opportunity to both work and continue studying to become a Chartered Building Surveyor. Seeing pink hoarding and Be First cranes around the borough on my daily walks is really rewarding.

“Everyone should be proud of the work they are doing in a borough that so desperately needed regenerating. I look forward to becoming RICS accredited and having a further positive impact in both the company and the borough.”

Consultation gets underway on latest plans for the Gascoigne neighbourhood

Local people are being invited to give their views on the designs for the latest phases of new homes in the Gascoigne neighbourhood.

The plans, developed by the Council’s regeneration organisation, Be First, set out ideas for more than 440 top quality new homes set in an attractive green landscape.

They focus on three areas.

  • The first is for over 90 new homes and a community centre on the corner of Ripple Road and St Pauls Road, opposite Lidl and close to the town centre.
  • There are also plans for the area around The Coverdales, behind the Orchard Surgery where a diverse range of around 350 new homes are planned with new tree-lined streets and an open space adjacent to the school.
  • There are also outline designs for the area between Dovehouse Mead and St Edwards Road.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “We have drawn up some initial ideas for each of these areas, and we expect to submit a planning application for The Coverdales and for Ripple Corner in the summer. But before we do, we’d like residents to share their views.

“We have set up a website and produced a video to explain our thinking, but we are consulting very early in the process to make sure that what local people say about them can really influence the designs and layout of these exciting new homes.”

The website, which provides a range of information about the project, and including a survey and ideas platform, is at



Landmark development in heart of Barking approaches half-way point

Building work on a new affordable housing development in the heart of Barking is gathering pace.

The new development in Linton Road, which will feature 169 affordable homes, has hit a significant milestone with frames of two lower story blocks now complete and the main 21 storey tower has reached 11 floors.

Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director at Be First, said: “Despite the challenges of Covid and Brexit this flagship development is on track. Once built it will be a major landmark delivering quality affordable homes in the beating heart of a buzzing new Barking.”

Simon Phipps of McLaren, who are building the development said: “We are immensely proud of the progress made so far, during one of the most challenging environments in recent history. Our current success would not have been possible without the total support of BeFirst and the collaboration of our supply chain and workforce, many of whom are local East London companies and residents.”

The Linton Road development is part of a wider programme being delivered by Be First which will make Barking and Dagenham the biggest builder of social housing in London.

Intelligent industrial-resi development is future of regeneration

Plans to create a mixed use business and residential development in Barking were approved by the Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee this week (Monday, 21 December).

It means 156 new high quality affordable homes for rent will be built alongside 5,085sqm of light industrial space in Thames Road, Barking.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “We’re trying to do regeneration differently in Barking and Dagenham.

“We’re about delivering inclusive growth and this development in Thames Road is a great example of intelligent regeneration. It will produce jobs and quality homes for local people at rents they can afford – and all in a sustainable way. It’s a model for future regeneration.”

The site is located on the corner of Thames Road and Crossness Road, and acts as a key entrance point into the Barking Riverside regeneration area.

The Thames Road development will include:

•            156 affordable new homes for the council – about half of them reserved for people on our waiting lists

•            5,085 square metres of light industrial units for new or expanding businesses

•            60 trees and improved landscaping

•            green spaces and play areas, balconies and green roof terraces

•            70% of hot water and heating to be provided by air source heat pumps

•            Café reinstated on the corner of Thames Road and Crossness Road

Ben Green, Senior Development Manager at Be First, who will be overseeing the development, said: “Be First is about building sustainable communities that create new jobs and new homes.  12 Thames Road is a statement of intent for Be First and the Council, who have ambitious plans to regenerate the Thames Road area.”


Council to trial measures to make Station Parade safer

The Council plans to restrict unauthorised traffic along Station Parade, Barking from January 2021 in response to residents’ concerns about road safety.

The improvements outside Barking Station will be introduced for an 18-month trial period and are designed to reduce traffic danger for the thousands of people who work, live or travel through the area daily.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, explains: “Barking Station is one of the busiest in London, with 14.5 million commuters a year and rising using it.

“Road traffic accidents have been too high for too long in Station Parade and, even now during lockdown, it’s congested. So, we plan to stop cars using the road unnecessarily.”

Only buses, taxis, cyclists and emergency service vehicles will be allowed to travel along Station Parade.

The Council intends to keep the scheme under review during the trial period and is calling on residents, businesses and users to give their views online. Towards the end of the 18-month trial, the Council will conduct further consultation to establish whether to make the works permanent.

More information is available at


Plans for new model 21st Century urban development agreed

Plans to transform one of east London’s largest 1960s housing estates into a new model for green urban living were approved by Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee this week.

The council’s approval of two planning applications from its regeneration arm, Be First, means over 900 new homes at rents and prices ordinary working Londoners can afford, will be built as the former Gascoigne estate, in the heart of Barking, is redeveloped.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This decision means we will be creating one of the greenest and most sustainable neighbourhoods in the capital.

“It will be a new model of 21st century urban design to meet the challenges of climate change and provide quality homes for ordinary working people.”

The designs for the new homes will capitalise on the Gascoigne neighbourhood’s location, with the town centre, with public transport, retail and leisure facilities all just 15 minutes’ walk away.

This ‘15 minute’ neighbourhood will encourage more sustainable living through its use of green heating and power generating systems, and will feature 1,600 cycle parking spaces.

Councillor Andrew Achilleos, Member Champion for Climate Change, said: “This exciting project brings us another step closer to our ambition of a greener borough for the benefit of all.

“While there’s still lots of work to do, we want to play our role in helping to ensure that Barking and Dagenham is a green and sustainable place to live for future generations.”

The plans include:

  • a range of one to three-bedroom homes with rents starting at £135 a week
  • a new 1.25 acre park
  • extensive tree-planting around a series of courtyards
  • connection to the local district energy network,
  • green roofs and solar panels
  • 350 sqm of community space – a residents’ hub – and an improved range of children’s play areas and a Multiple Use Games Area
  • 822sqm of retail and commercial space

Jacob Willson, Head of Design at Be First said: “We have designed a greener, more sustainable Gascoigne which will create a healthy neighbourhood for our residents with a great new park at its heart.”

Linda Thiel, Director of London Studio, White Arkitekter, said: “It’s wonderful to see our designs for the Gascoigne neighbourhood endorsed by the council.

“The projects we are working on have given us the opportunity to improve the quantity and quality of housing available for local people, and enable a paradigm shift in how the public spaces can be used, a move from estate to neighbourhood.

“This will become a place that provides green, active, social spaces for all ages and abilities.”