Inspirational design for new homes in Dagenham bring best of old and new together

Construction of a further 56 new affordable homes for local people in Dagenham got underway this week.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, went to the site in Woodward Road along with Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director of Be First and Eamon O’Malley of builders Mulalley.

Cllr Rodwell said the development is another example of the Council building really well designed modern homes at an affordable price

He said: “It’s great to see work getting underway. The use of a conventional street layout but with modern design reflects the way we in Barking and Dagenham are building new developments on historic principles to create places people want to live in .”

The new street will consist of three to four-storey apartment blocks and three-storey ‘mews’ houses, each with its own front door entrance which will encourage a feeling of community often missing in modern developments.

It will include a range of open spaces, private gardens, balconies and terraces.

Iain Ferguson said: “The new Woodward Road development is one of eleven projects Be First has  already started this year as part of our drive to build really affordable and liveable homes for the people of Barking and Dagenham.”

Eamon O’Malley said: “We’re delighted to assist the Council by building these fantastic new homes for their residents. Barking and Dagenham has always been a special place and it’s a credit to the Council that they are continuing to invest in their community at this difficult time.”

The 56 new homes include 32 one-bedroom, 10 two-bedroom and 1 three-bedroom flats plus 13 three-bedroom houses. The development also includes retaining a locally listed former library which will be put to future community use.

Rents will start from £168 a week for a two bed-room flat.

The development is due to be finished in 2022.

Building of landmark development accelerates

Construction of 95 new modern, affordable homes on the site of a former 1960s estate, Sebastian Court, is now back up to full speed.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, visited the site to see how work was progressing at the site in Upney Lane, Barking, together with Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director at Be First, and William Jerram of Jerram Falkus.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see building work gathering pace. The old Sebastian Court was a blight on the Barking and Dagenham landscape. The new development will be a landmark to be proud of in our drive to build top quality affordable homes for local people.”

Iain Ferguson said: “The Coronavirus pandemic underlined to everyone just how important it is to have a comfortable home of your own.

“So, we’re delighted that our contractors have managed to keep the redevelopment of Sebastian Court moving in spite of lockdown. It means we remain on track to deliver top quality affordable new homes for local people.”

William Jerram, said, “I would like to thank our workforce for their continued efforts in managing this project to the highest standards, during these unprecedented and difficult times.  

“We are proud of the way Sebastian Court is progressing and are pleased that our valued clients are satisfied that we are on track to delivering new homes for the borough.”



Dagenham studios given the go-ahead

Plans to build London’s largest film studios on former industrial land in Dagenham were approved at a meeting of Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee last night.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council hailed the decision as ‘momentous’.

He said: “This is a huge decision for the borough. It gives the green light to what will be London’s largest film studios, so it’s a major milestone in the renewal of a part of London badly hit by de-industrialisation and austerity.

“The new Dagenham studios sit alongside one of the largest data centres in the UK and the UCL’s innovative PEARL project, and there are also plans to relocate the City of London’s wholesale markets to a site nearby. This will mean thousands of jobs and educational opportunities for local people.

“So, where once Dagenham was known for Ford’s and factories, we will be making films and a new bright new future for our borough and its residents.”

The plans for the film studios feature:

  • six world class sound stages totalling c.140,000 sqft (1x 30,000 sqft and 5x 22,000 sqft)
  • flexible accommodation adjacent to the sound stages for uses such as production offices, hair and makeup or dressing rooms
  • conversion of two existing buildings into workshops for set construction and associated industry users
  • a landmark office building for the pre and post production alongside space for associated creative industry businesses
  • an estimated 1,200 jobs are projected to be created in the studios and associated supply chain, and
  • key sustainability measures incorporated within the design including green roofs

An aerial view and computer generated image of the site, together with a comment from Cllr Darren Rodwell, is available here.

The Council’s planning committee agreed the reasons for approval and delegated to grant planning permission subject to any direction from the Mayor of London and the completion of a Unilateral Undertaking under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Last night’s decision gives significant momentum to the discussions Be First is having, on behalf of the council, with potential interested parties to determine whether to secure a joint venture agreement, a land sale or for Be First to build the studios and lease the site to an interested party.

More reaction 

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First said: “We’ve had a great deal of interest in the site and with planning permission secured the interest will intensify.  With the ever growing demand for studio space in the UK, we’re in a very good position to take this project forward.”

Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: “I am delighted to see Dagenham studios get the green light. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK screen industries were enjoying an exceptional boom time and we’re committed to driving the sector’s recovery. Following our publication of the UK’s British Film Commission production guidance, as we get back to work safely and production starts shooting again, I am confident that we shall return to that level of growth, and exceed it, in coming years.

“So, it’s crucial we continue to develop our world-class infrastructure. This cutting-edge proposal will further bolster London’s studio offer, supporting economic growth and creating new jobs. It’s important for Dagenham, it’s compelling for London and it’s a significant addition to the UK’s world-leading film and TV sector.”

Lisa Dee, Head of Film LBBD, said: “Barking and Dagenham is already a magnet for movie makers. Two of the UK’s biggest features were filmed in Dagenham last year – Black Widow by Marvel and Morbius by Sony Pictures (to be released) – contributing to the £1.742 billion total UK inward investment from feature films for last year.

“And, as London is moving a lot of work east, we are finding more crew and production workers are living in east, south-east and north London areas, so we’re on their doorstep, which makes Dagenham studios a great geographical fit for the existing and the next generation of crew and creatives.”

Alistair Weir, of PRP architects, said: It’s enormously rewarding to see the application unanimously approved and I’m delighted that this helps the Council take a significant step in delivering their aspirations for a world-class studio.”

East London council keeps building

Building work on a new affordable housing development in the heart of Barking is now underway as Barking and Dagenham Council’s drive to build more affordable homes for working people gathers pace.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, visited the site in Linton Road to see how construction of the latest phase of 169 affordable new homes is progressing.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see Be First get this new development in the heart of Barking underway. It will help Barking town centre recover from the Covid 19 crisis, with new affordable homes bringing people into the town centre on the site where there was formerly an empty office block.”

Cllr Rodwell was joined by Kim Bromley-Derry, Executive Director for McLaren Construction who are building the development and Be First’s Construction Director, Tom Mather.

Kim Bromley Derry said: “Our team are proud to be working alongside Barking and Dagenham Council, Be First and the local community, investing in Education, Skills and Training, by sharing our skills and innovation with the people of the borough to provide a positive and long lasting legacy for generations to come.”

Tom Mather said: “This new development is part of a wider story of Be First accelerating affordable house building for local people. I am particularly pleased we are using offsite technology with pre-cast panels meaning the project is delivered quickly, safely and with less environmental impact.”

Darren Gill Regional Managing Director of McLaren Construction London said “The McLaren delivery team has done sterling work over the past few months during this challenging time, fully focused on the health and safety of the work force and the local community whilst maintaining progress on this challenging site.”