Park to open-up access to Thames takes shape

Work has begun this week to create a new mini ‘linear’ park which will join up walking and cycling routes from the River Thames at Barking Riverside to Barking town centre and central London. 

Thanks to £440,000 from the Mayor of London’s Green Capital Grants and an investment of £350,000 from Be First, the new Ripple Greenway will link to the new Cycleway, which will run from Barking Riverside to Barking and to the new extension of the Cycle Superhighway, which will run from Thames View to central London.   

Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Social Housing and Regeneration, said: “It’s good to see this fantastic project taking shape. It will enable residents to stroll or cycle from Barking Riverside to Barking town centre or perhaps all the way to Tower Bridge!” 

Nick Davies, Principal Transport Officer at Be First, said: “The Ripple Greenway is part of our wider programme of improving cycling and walking options and encouraging a healthier lifestyle for local residents.” 

The cycle track and walkway is due to open in the park in early December and will initially connect Radford Way to Renwick Road in Thames View. 

It will then be linked to the Barking to Barking Riverside Cycle route in Spring 2020. And is expected to be linked to the extension of the Cycle Superhighway later in the year which will run from Tower Bridge to Thames View, Barking.

Sustrans London Director, Matt Winfield, said: “It’s so exciting to see work start on this fabulous new park.

“The borough’s inspirational residents have been a driving force behind this project, calling for improved access to green space in the area. It has been great working with them and the borough to create this wonderful community asset that I’m sure will be treasured for generations to come.”





A new lease of life for Grays Court

Residents have been urged to make their views known on plans to refurbish a former hospital in Dagenham.

The proposals to renovate Grays Court Hospital in John Parker Close include temporary accommodation for local people, a flexible use community space, and the continuation of out of hours GP services.

Matthew Westwood, Senior Development Manager at Be First, which is running the consultation and project, said: “We really want the input of the local community so we can breathe new life into this former hospital.

“Our plans will give a roof over local families’ heads who are looking for a permanent home, and some excellent facilities for the community but it’s important local people have their say.”

The refurbishment, will create 55-60 new rooms and a community space which could be used for:

  • A community food club and cooking school
  • Family learning opportunities
  • Education and training facilities
  • Careers fairs and job clubs

Be First is holding a special public consultation event at Grays Court Hospital on Thursday, 5th September from 3pm to 8pm.

And from 5th September, local people can comment online by going to



Plans submitted for latest phase of Gascoigne estate redevelopment

The planning application for the latest stage of redevelopment of the Gascoigne Estate was submitted to the council this week.

Be First, the council’s regeneration company, submitted the latest designs for more than 200 new homes, which would be built on Abbey Road on the western side of the estate, on Monday 5 August 2019.

More than 40 per cent of the new homes would be affordable and all would be situated in attractive, green public spaces, with a children’s play area and energy supplied through a sustainable energy system.

Mark Stallard, project manager for Be First, explains: “We’ve listened carefully to what local people had to say about our initial proposals, and have refined them to reflect some of their concerns.

“We believe that our proposals will provide much needed new homes for local people in an attractive green setting.”

The consultation, which took place in June and July this year, resulted in a number of changes, including:

  • more children’s play space and extra amenity space for resident’s use at roof level;
  • additional trees and improvements to the Abbey Road landscaping to make it a better place to walk through and live near;
  • enhanced brickwork details on the building facades;
  • improved the layout of some of the family homes; and
  • a slight widening of the proposed bus route between Boundary Road and Abbey Road.

The revised application, made up of two parts, can be seen here and here.  Council is expected to consider it over the summer, and to make a decision in November.

‘Something’ in New Abbey Road studios

Barking’s burgeoning reputation as London’s latest creative hotspot took another boost this week when Be First issued a call for organisations to run new artist’s studios by the River Roding.

Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company hopes the new Abbey Road studios will be as inspiring to artists as its St John’s Wood’s namesake.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “We hope our own Abbey Road studios will inspire artists to produce ‘Something’ special, just like the Beatles did at their studios in St John’s Wood.”

Peter Murray, Be First Board member, said: “The best developments and productions are when creatives and the community ‘Come Together’ and produce a thing of art – just as John, Paul, George and Ringo did with their Abbey Road album 50 years ago.”

David Harley, Be First’s Head of Regeneration, said: “We want to hear from ambitious creative organisations who share our ambition to bring art to the heart of Barking.

“We already have a thriving artists’ community along the River Roding and of course we recently launched our pop-up arts gallery at Barking station, so the new studios at Abbey Road will further bolster our credentials as London’s latest creative hot spot.”

And Cllr Rodwell said the new studios also add to the River Roding’s growing reputation as one of the capital’s up and coming waterside developments.

Cllr Rodwell said: “We want to create a buzzing waterside community for everyone to enjoy, including artists and artisans. These new studios add to our wider vision to create a Roding Riviera for ordinary people.”

Artists and organisations are invited to send their tender to lease over 3,000sq feet of studios by 26 August.

To find out more go to