An east end epic is coming

Be First – Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering urban regeneration company – today issued an invitation to ambitious investors, entrepreneurs and businesses to help build London’s largest film studios and media complex in Dagenham.

Announcing the hunt for partners, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, said: “We are looking for like-minded partners to help us bring world class film studios to Dagenham.
“It will be an east end epic which will create hundreds of quality jobs and inject millions into the local economy.”

And Cllr Rodwell said he wants the studios to inspire local talent to become tomorrow’s stars of the screen.

He said: “I hope that bringing London’s largest studios to Dagenham will inspire local people to get involved in the film industry.

“It would be brilliant if a Made in Dagenham film studios leads to stars Made in Dagenham.”

And backing the move too is iconic photographer and east ender, David Bailey.

He said: ““This is a great opportunity to bring arts and crafts to Barking and Dagenham.”
The announcement follows the release of a feasibility study on the possibility of studios at Dagenham East, commissioned by Barking and Dagenham Council and the Greater London Assembly.

It concludes that ‘Dagenham East represents a rare chance to build a world-class film studio within the boundaries of Greater London’ while supporting the ‘long-term success of the UK’s booming film and TV production industries’.

It suggests the studios would also directly create around 780 jobs and generate £35 million a year to the UK economy.

The job of finding partners to deliver a Made in Dagenham film studios and media complex on the 20-acre site on former industrial land rests with Be First.

Barking and Dagenham is already a major location hotspot for film and TV makers, with a host of blockbusters and TV dramas being filmed in the borough, including Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Sky’s Lucky Man and Channel 4’s Humans through Film LBBD.

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “This is an outstanding opportunity for an ambitious organisation to make help make Dagenham famous for films as well as Ford’s.
“We have had interest already but we really want to see the full potential of this site!”
Be First’s search for a builder and operator of the new studios is the company’s first major project since its launch in October 2017.

Expressions of interest can be made before 20 December. More details can be found on the Be First website:

A bridge not far enough

Although the Mayor of London has dropped plans to build a garden bridge, Barking and Dagenham Council’s leader wants a new bridge a bit further down-stream spanning the River Roding – linking two massive regeneration hotspots.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “With the Mayor dropping the Garden Bridge plan, I would urge him to consider our proposals for a bridge over the River Roding.
“I realise bridges don’t grow on trees but if we could link Barking Riverside to Beckton and the Royal Docks it would have far more economic benefits than the vanity project further upstream.
“Bridging two of Europe’s largest development schemes makes sense as our area is at the epicentre of London’s eastward shift.”

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said:

“Bridging the gaps between the regeneration areas in east London is key to ensuring the economic benefits of these new developments are realised and residents are able to benefit from improved connections to where they work, live and play.”

A new bridge will also enable Be First – Barking and Dagenham Council’s new independent Regeneration Company to explore a potential development site which has fantastic views along the sweep of the Thames– bringing in around 5,500 homes and 1,000 jobs.

It will also enable existing residents better access to the Royal Docks and Canary Wharf via DLR/Crossrail and Jubilee Line services

Cllr Rodwell said: “We already have a small arts and creative community along the River Roding and with a bridge we can build on this and make it into a buzzing embankment with bars, leisure attractions and quality affordable homes – a kind of Roding Riviera.”