Former pub site makes way for new homes for local people

Plans to build nearly 200 new homes in Barking were given the green light by councillors at planning committee meeting on Tuesday (25 February).

Up to 35 per cent of the 196 new rental homes will be affordable with rents as low as £161 per week for a studio flat.*

The new homes will be built on the former White Horse pub site in London Road, which was demolished almost four years ago.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “There’s an acute shortage of housing in the borough, which we’re working hard to tackle.

“The decision means more affordable homes for local people and will make sure the former White Horse pub site does not become a White Elephant.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “This decision breathes new life into this derelict site meaning more affordable homes for local people.”

Last night’s planning approval by the council also includes a clause for the developer – Yara – to use at least 25 per cent local labour in building works.

And tenants in the new homes are set to have local heat and electricity supplied by Barking Town Centre District Heating Network once its launched.

Last night’s decision will now be subject to final approval from the Mayor of London.

* Based on London Living Rent rates for 2020/21

If you love films – you’ll love this hotel

The Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council checked out the new ‘Hotel Hollywood’ this week in Dagenham East in the run up to Valentine’s Day.

Councillor Darren Rodwell went to see the new London Dagenham East Travelodge – which is just a stone’s throw away from the site which is set host the Made in Dagenham film studios.

The 78-room hotel, opened this year and is gearing itself up for its first guests in time for Valentine’s Day.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see Travelodge and the Costa Coffee drive-thru now open – it’s another sign that Dagenham’s star is rising.

“Just around the corner there will be the UK’s largest data centre and the ground-breaking UCL PEARL research laboratory. And, of course, just a few yards opposite we will have London’s largest film studios for 25 years.

“So, if you’re checking in to London Dagenham East Travelodge in the future, film lovers may be able to catch a glimpse of Hollywood royalty!’’

Cllr Rodwell was also joined by Paul Mathias, District Manager for Travelodge, David Harley from Be First and Jonathan Carkeet from Berkley Square Developments.

The hotel and drive-thru was built by Barnes Construction through a funding agreement with Berkeley Square Developments on behalf of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration organisation.

Paul Mathias, Travelodge District Manager said: ‘‘As one of London’s largest hotel brands, we are delighted to open our 588th which is also our 77th property in London and our second Travelodge in Dagenham. The central location of this hotel will help attract more business and leisure visitors to the area which is great news for the local economy. As our research shows, customers staying over at a Travelodge hotel will spend double their room rate with local businesses which can equate to an annual boost of nearly £2million.”

David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, said: “With the new Travelodge, UCL Pearl, data centres and film studios, Dagenham will not be solely known for Fords, factories and flyovers.”

Jonathan Carkeet, of Berkeley Square Developments, said: “Berkeley Square Developments are delighted with the opening of the new Travelodge and Costa Coffee development at London East. The scheme has been delivered as a partnership between Berkeley Square Development and Be First, on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The completed development has regenerated a key part of the former Sanofi facility to create new local employment opportunities, supports inward investment within the area and provides residents with new amenities.”

Made in Dagenham studio plan takes significant step forward

Residents are being asked to give their views on the plans for the building of the Made in Dagenham studios as the Borough launched a pre-application planning consultation on the next stage of the project which is going to the council’s planning committee for permission for the studio buildings.

Local people will be able to preview initial plans for London’s newest studios from 2.30-7.30pm on Thursday 13 February at LondonEast-UK, adjacent to the site.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This consultation is the next stage in turning our aspiration to continue to make movies in Dagenham into a reality.

“We’re keen to explain how this will work to residents and local businesses and we want to hear their views about the proposals. 

“We hope that our plans will make Dagenham as famous for films as it was for Fords, providing thousands of quality jobs and outstanding educational and training opportunities for local people.”

Pat Hayes,  Managing Director of the Council’s regeneration organisation, Be First, said: “Demand for Film and TV production facilities is continuing to grow and Be First expects to submit a planning application for the studios in the spring which will bring construction a step closer.”