Expanding schools and minds in Barking

Barking and Dagenham Council’s cabinet member for education met the Head Teacher and pupils to see how the building works at Barking Abbey School are gathering pace.

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter met Head Teacher, Jo Tupman, and students at the school’s Longbridge Road campus to see how the new specialist teaching accommodation with dining hall, and sports facilities are taking shape.

The new buildings are part of a £21 million investment in the school’s expansion which will enable a further 90 pupils per year group to be admitted, along with additional sixth form places at the Sandringham Road site.

The expansion of the school includes general teaching, specialist teaching accommodation such as Design Technology, IT, Art, Science and a new 690 sqm sports hall, which has been designed to Sports England specification. at the Longbridge Road site. Some remodelling and refurbishment of the existing buildings are also taking place.

Cllr Carpenter said: “The first new building is really taking shape and already looking great. Over the past four years we have ploughed £110 million into expanding schools so we can keep pace with our increasing school age population.

“Because of this we are among the top authorities in London in making sure pupils get their first preference.”

Ms Tupman, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the school, our families and wider local community to have the facilities that they deserve. Our new buildings and facilities will further enhance and enrich our students’ learning experiences.”

Over the last 10 months the representatives from Barking and Dagenham Council, Be First, and the school have been working with Neilcott Building Contractors (including architects from award winning Rivington Street Studio), to design buildings that maintain the character of both sites.

Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director at Be First said: “Be First is about building sustainable communities and great schools are at the heart of them.”

‘Dagenham Dynamo’ hotel deal clinched

Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company, has agreed a deal to build a new 78 room hotel adjacent to the site of the soon-to-be largest film studios in London.

The hotel will be run by Travelodge and built by Barnes Construction through a funding agreement with Berkeley Square Developments on behalf of Be First acting for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

The £7 mil deal comes hot on the heels of the announcement by Be First of a preferred partner to build and operate new film and TV studios and a movie-themed visitor centre on the 22 acre-site at Dagenham East.

Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director at Be First, said: “This agreement is another sign that Dagenham is on the up.

“Dagenham East is fast becoming a hotspot for dynamic high-tech industries, with the film studios and datacentre plans now out of the starting blocks.

“These developments will bring thousands of jobs for local people at all levels – from construction workers, carpenters and hotel staff to set designers and film and TV producers.”

Alan Gavin from Berkeley Square Developments said: “We are delighted to be developing the new Travelodge at Dagenham East with Be First. They are really putting the area on the map as one of the leading regeneration areas in London and the combination of a Travelodge and film studio will further spur inward investment to the Borough and we are looking forward to continue to develop in the area.”
Tony O’Brien, UK Development Director of Travelodge Hotels, said: “The scale of development in the area means that Barking and Dagenham really is the place to be.
“We will be opening another hotel at Dagenham Leisure Park shortly, so this is our second hotel in the area.

“With the major residential and commercial developments planned in the borough, we believe that now is the time to invest in area.

“The new hotel at Dagenham East will serve the many existing and new businesses that are establishing in the area and being within 200m of Dagenham East tube station and having good, on site car parking, it will provide a convenient, great value base for customers visiting the capital who don’t want to pay central London hotel prices.

“With comfort cooling, a bar Café, on-site parking and the adjacent Costa Coffee Café and the Pipe Major pub/restaurant, this will be a great place to stay.”

The new hotel will also feature a ground floor restaurant, and Berkeley will develop a Costa drive-through outlet.

The hotel is due to be built in 2019

Brace of top teams to deliver new homes

Be First has appointed two top class teams to deliver the next phases of its ambitious development programme.

Jerram Falkus, together with architects Pollard Thomas Edwards, will be providing up to 90 new flats on the site of Sebastian Court, Barking, which is scheduled for redevelopment. Their imaginative proposal is for three separate mansion blocks in landscaped grounds, including a sunny central play area and a green tree lined frontage to Upney Lane. The new homes will be a mix of shared ownership and genuinely affordable rented homes.

Bell Phillips has been selected to deliver new homes in Church Street, Dagenham, on a complicated site that includes a patch of land that has lain empty since the 1990’s. Bell Philips’ initial proposal envisages new town houses and flats arranged around a sun-filled courtyard, with an attractive tree-lined frontage adjoining the street.

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “I’m excited to be able to make these appointments, particularly because each of these radically different plans, places a similar emphasis on top notch design and practicality at the same time.  Working with architects like these, who understand the borough, we can be certain of building high quality, affordable homes for local people.”

Jerram Falkus’ Simon Birnie said: “Barking and Dagenham is a key client of ours and we look forward to working with Be First and our consultant team to successfully deliver this flagship project. It is an exciting opportunity to provide well designed high quality new affordable homes that are highly sustainable for this landmark site”.

Tim Bell, of Bell Phillips Architects, said: This is a fantastic opportunity for us to work with a client which has high aspirations for good design and place making in new affordable housing. We are really looking forward to starting work with BeFirst on this exciting project.

Each of the practices has been asked to develop their proposals further with the local community, in order to deliver a start on site in 2019.

Green light for Gascoigne West

Barking and Dagenham Councillors granted outline planning permission earlier this week (11 June) for an exciting 850 home development on the Gascoigne West estate, in Barking.

The proposal, which involves demolishing and replacing 179 flats bordering St Pauls Road and Abbey Road, Barking, will also mean an extra 671 homes are built, with more than 40% at rents below market rent levels, and shared ownership.

Planners recommended approval of the £250 million project, pointing out that the development would result in much-needed regeneration comparable to the award-winning redesign of the Gascoigne East estate, promising significantly more and better-quality housing, in a mix of sizes, in a safer and healthier designed environment.

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, the council’s pioneering development company which is leading the project, said: “We aim to surpass the quality and design standards that we have set at Gascoigne East, offering hundreds of badly needed, new homes for local people at a range of rent levels and prices.

“This is a huge milestone for this exciting project, which will make much better use of the space, with more traditional street patterns and green spaces.”

The project team will now be starting to generate the detailed designs, and a further planning application is expected late 2018 with work on site estimated to begin in 2019.

Existing residents are being offered help to move and the chance to return if they wish.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “It is fantastic to see good quality proposals being drawn up that capture a mixture of realistic renting and affordable buying opportunities for local residents.”

During the first six months of the flats going on sale, the properties will be subject to restrictions that will stop individuals or companies from buying more than one.

Cllr Geddes added: “We recognise the difficulties people face in getting on the property ladder and we are determined to try and prevent people coming here and buying up lots of flats that they have no intention of living in so it’s residents first and foremost who benefit.”

Billion pound Be First development framework announced

Be First, Barking and Dagenham’s pioneering urban regeneration company, is now advertising for contractors to join a brand new development framework, estimated to be worth £1 billion over the next four years.

The company, whose mission is to accelerate growth in the east London borough, has more than 44 projects in the pipeline and will use its framework to speed up the procurement process, to raise quality standards and reduce costs.

“We’re in a hurry to build new homes for Barking and Dagenham residents,” explains Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director of Be First, “And, we’re determined to build top quality communities and generate social benefits at the same time.  We want to work with contractors who share our aims and are prepared to work constructively with us throughout this huge project.”

Be First, who hit the headlines recently by announcing its mini-Manhattan project for Barking town centre at MIPIM, has been commissioned by the council to build out a range of projects, ranging from small infill blocks to major schemes, including the next phase of the Gascoigne estate renewal – estimated at £100m – and the redevelopment of Crown House – estimated to be worth over £50million.  Together with the company’s own programme of development, the combined value is in the region of £1billion.

The framework will be arranged in two lots.  The first for smaller schemes with a value up to £20m and the second for those of £10m upwards.  Applications are open until 9 July and appointments to the framework are expected to be made by the end of October 2018.  Though it is primarily for residential development, call offs will also be made to deliver supporting infrastructure such as schools, libraries or community centres. It will also be open for use by other boroughs in London and the South East.

A video introducing the framework is available here.

Modern villas to be built alongside iconic estate 

Be First has appointed architects Archio to work on the development of a former Synagogue site in Dagenham.

Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company gave the east London firm the green light after they submitted designs for ‘two villas on a green carpet’.

The villas will deliver around 20 homes for shared ownership.

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “We felt the designs from Archio complement the ground-breaking 1920s designs of the Becontree Estate.

“It shows once again Barking and Dagenham is at the vanguard of building high quality, affordable homes for ordinary Londoners.”

Kyle Buchanan of Archio Ltd, said: “In the 1920s the Becontree Estate was one of the most radical programmes of public housing ever attempted.

“Be First’s development plans for Barking and Dagenham are reigniting that radical spark and we are thrilled to have been chosen to work on this key site. Our scheme draws on the character of the existing estate to deliver a locally distinctive architecture that will provide much needed housing.” 

Notes for editors:

The Becontree Estate was built in the 1920s as part of a wider programme to build homes ‘fit for heroes’ following the end of the First World War.

Be First is looking to deliver around 50,000 homes over the next 20 years.