We’ll build Care City with art and soul

Barking and Dagenham’s burgeoning reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot took another boost after councillors gave the green light to plans at a cabinet meeting (13 November) to create a new arthouse cinema on the site of a former leisure centre.

The plans to redevelop the old Abbey Sports Centre, Barking, will see a new two screen cinema run by operators Arthouse together with 170 apartments with at least 35 per cent at below market rate.

The development by Lindhill Properties also includes Care City (a joint venture between the council and North East London Foundation Trust), and two retail units.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “These plans will help improve the borough’s health in terms of art and social life.

“The new arthouse cinema will satisfy the soul for film lovers and add vibrancy to the town centre, while Care City will help address the health issues we have in the borough.

“And, the new affordable flats will help local people find a new home. It’s a great deal all round.”

The plans were put together by Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company.

Ed Skeates, Be First Development Director, said: “This deal with provide an income for the council, deliver on homes and health and boost Barking and Dagenham’s reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot.”

Lee Fitzpatrick, Director at Lindhill Properties Ltd, said: “We are delighted to contribute towards a dynamic and inclusive project for the town centre and welcome the support from the council and Be First towards such an exciting opportunity in an up-and-coming borough.

“This development will only contribute to the impressive regeneration already taking place in Barking and we believe all proposals will be enjoyed and utilised by the borough’s residents for generations to come.

“Alongside all this, it is further rewarding to be involved with a scheme that will truly enhance the area as a civic quarter which complements the existing surrounding leisure, cultural and community uses in the town centre.”

Sam Neophytou, Director of Arthouse said: “Following on from the huge success of Arthouse Crouch End, we know the importance of providing a communal experience.

“Our aim is to make the Arts affordable and accessible to all in our community with fair ticket pricing and additional concessions for seniors, children and students on all shows!”

The plans will go before the council’s planning committee for a decision on 10 December.

Construction expert joins Be First

Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s affordable housing developer and regeneration company, has appointed a new Director of Construction. 

Tom Mather, who up until recently, Programme Managed the Stansted Airport transformation programme for Manchester Airports Group, joined the east London company this month.  

Tom said: “It’s hugely exciting to be joining Be First. They are spearheading London’s most exciting regeneration projects and from what I have seen already, they’ve got a great team here.”  

Iain Ferguson, Be First’s Commercial Director, said: “Tom has a wealth of experience in a wide range of sectors. He will make an immense and valuable contribution to help us deliver affordable housing and build great communities in Barking and Dagenham.” 

Tom, a chartered engineer, who started as a Civil Engineer working in the water industry has worked on a range of major construction projects including  working at the Hinkley Point C project for Mace.  

Wigan born and bred, Tom is a big Rugby League fan.  

He said: “I am looking forward to getting to grips with with the borough’s huge house building programme.”

New park will open up Thames to all

Residents of Thames Ward have been invited to design a new mini-park which will open up walking and cycling routes from Barking and central London to the River Thames at Barking Riverside.

Thanks to £440,000 from the Mayor of London’s Green Capital Grants and an investment of £350,000 from Be First, the new park will also be linked to the Ripple Nature Reserve, which will be restored by Barking Riverside Limited.

It will also have links to Barking Riverside via a cycle path, the new Quietway route to Barking, scheduled for delivery by Spring 2020, and an extension to the cycle superhighway between Thames View and central London.  

Caroline Harper, Chief Planner at Be First, said: “This new park will open up the Thames to local residents and visitors from all parts of East London, thanks to new cycle routes and paths.

“But we need residents to tell us what other features or facilities they’d like, so that local people take the park to their hearts and it becomes a real community asset.”

Simon Wasser of Sustrans, who are delivering the project on behalf of Be First said: “Sustrans is excited to work with the local community to co-design this new nature trail for people on foot and bicycle.

“This idea came from local residents who wanted to improve access to greenspace and we want to create a useful healthy travel link as well as a leisure destination in itself with natural play features and improved wildlife habitats.”

Residents have been invited to attend engagement events coming up – drop in and share your views.

They are:  

  • Monday 19th November – Farr Avenue shops, Thames View – 3-6pm
  • Wednesday 21st November – Thames View Playing Fields – 8-10am
  • Wednesday 21st November – Outside George Carey School, Barking Riverside – 3-6pm
  • Friday 23rd November – Sue Bramley Centre Community Café – 10am-12 noon
  • Saturday 1st December – Sue Bramley Centre – 11am-1pm
  • Friday 14th December – Mums on a Mission Street Party, Farr Avenue Shops – 3-6pm

You can also make your view through an online survey: sustrans.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/greenway

To find out more or to get more involved with future community workshops in the New Year, contact Jake – Jake.Cosgrove@Sustrans.org.uk




Helping local people find a home

Plans to build over 30 modular flats for local people and families were given the thumbs up at a planning committee meeting last night (12 November).

The developments by Be First in Wivenhoe Road and Sugden Way will help the council house local people who are on the housing list.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “We are determined to reduce homelessness in our borough.

“These homes are for local people on the waiting list and families who are currently living in bed and breakfast accommodation.

“Building these homes allows us to keep local people near their wider family and save taxpayers’ money.”

Jennie Coombs, Head of Affordable Housing at Be First, said: “These homes will be largely built off site using the latest modular materials and technology.

“It means we can build better homes at pace for local people.”

The Wivenhoe development will feature 20 modular flats.

And in Sugden Way, Barking, it will include one bedroom, eight two bedroom and four three-bedroom flats.


Putting a roof over people’s heads

Residents have been invited to give their views on a proposed development of state-of-the-art modular homes on the former Weighbridge site between Cook Road and Richard Ryan Place, Dagenham.

The plans developed by Be First, the council’s pioneering regeneration company, will deliver 92 temporary accommodation flats for homeless people on the council’s housing waiting list.

In a first for the borough, the new one, two and three bedroom flats will be built using the latest off-site, factory construction methods.  This technique means that the new homes will be high quality and quick to build.  If the council gives the scheme the go-ahead, Be First expects the homes to be built from start to finish within nine months.

The plans include residents parking office accommodation, cycle parking hubs and landscaping with play space on a site that has been derelict for many years.

Be First’s Managing Director, Pat Hayes, explains: “We plan to use the most modern techniques to build temporary new homes for homeless people on the council’s housing waiting list.

“It means we can build top quality housing quickly for local people who need it and reduce our reliance on out-of-borough temporary accommodation placements. At the same time, we can minimise inconvenience to neighbouring residents and businesses.

“Our proposals will make sure this wasteland becomes productive and helps homeless families find a roof over their heads.”

Residents are invited to find out more and give their comments here.

Bold plan to keep London’s growth borough booming

Residents are being urged to make their views known on the plans to improve the borough’s transport network.

The draft Local Implementation Plan (LIP), which was drawn up for the council by regeneration company, Be First, sets out a series of short and long-term investment bids, which will be considered by the Mayor of London in the New Year.

The LIP calls for investment of £4.5 million over the next three years from Transport for London (TfL) for a number of pressing schemes, including improvements to Barking Station, road safety, pedestrian and cycle improvements on the Heathway and Valance Avenue, and further work with the borough’s schools to promote healthy, sustainable travel.

The public is urged to respond online by 7 December 2018.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “If the borough is to grow in a way that makes sure no one is left behind, we need the Mayor to be bold and support our investment in transport infrastructure.

“It’s vital for residents to give us their views so we know we’re making the right priorities and so we can demonstrate to Government and the Mayor that we need the funds to keep London’s growth borough booming.”

The plan for the longer-term asks for TfL’s support for:

  • two new bridges across the River Roding
  • a new Overground station at Castle Green
  • a tunnel along the A13
  • river passenger services to and from Barking Riverside
  • an HS1 interchange either at Dagenham Dock or Barking

Pat Hayes, Be First’s Managing Director, said: “Regenerating Barking and Dagenham is just as vital for London’s future growth, as it is for residents.

“But to maximise the benefits, we need investment in our infrastructure.  If we keep Barking and Dagenham moving and better connected, Londoners reap the rewards.”