Work gets underway on Riverside to Barking walking and cycling route

Work gets underway this week to introduce a walking and cycling route between Barking and Barking Riverside.

The 7km Cycleway is designed to improve the connection between the two growing neighbourhoods, creating streets that are much more welcoming, easier and safer to cross for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

New ‘continuous’ pedestrian crossings will give priority to people travelling on foot and new signage will direct cyclists away from busy main roads between Barking and Barking Riverside, providing a safer, faster and more direct alternative. The proposed upgrades include:

  • an improved walking and cycling crossing on Bastable Avenue to provide safer and easier access to Thames View Junior and Infant School and local businesses
  • new ‘continuous’ pedestrian crossings at the junction of St Awdrys and Eldred Road, and
  • links to the Cycle Superhighway 3 (Barking to Tower Gateway) and the walking and cycling route at Ripple Greenway in Barking Riverside

These measures are being introduced by Be First, on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, following a consultation by Transport for London (TfL). The Cycleway is the latest phase of a project to connect the areas with Ilford Town Centre, where an Elizabeth line station is due to open in 2022.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing, said: “We know that many more people would cycle if there was less traffic and better, safer routes, so this Cycleway will be a real boost to the borough.  It provides a safe, quiet option between Barking Riverside and Barking town centre as well as good connections to the route into central London”.

Further measures to improve facilities for cyclists at Barking Station and Wakering Road will follow shortly.

You can see the full route map here:  Barking Town Centre to Barking Riverside cycle and walking route map.

Industria revolution in River Road

Proposals to create modern business spaces of the future in the River Road Employment Area in Barking were given the thumbs up by Barking and Dagenham councillors at a planning committee meeting this week (16.02.21).

Industria – the brainchild of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm – will be a high-tech business hub, situated just yards from both the Thames and Roding rivers. It could host a wide range of industries, such as a winery, specialist food production, jewellery makers and green industries,

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, hailed the decision as another sign of the good times to come for Barking and Dagenham.

He said: “This is the sort of attractive and sustainable industrial development which will no doubt create quality jobs and a place where wine makers, artists and artisans will be able to thrive alongside more traditional trades.

“It’s another boost to this booming part of London which is increasingly seeing forward-thinking entrepreneurs and businesses make their way here.”

The development is supported by £1m of the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), which will be invested alongside Barking and Dagenham Council’s investment of £33m.

Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “I’m pleased to support this innovative and ambitious project – which is the first of its kind in London – and I look forward to seeing the benefits it will bring to the local economy in Barking and the wider area.”

Lily Kwong, Development Manager at Be First, said: “We’ve had a great deal of interest in this site which will be a fantastic place for ambitious businesses to base themselves, with a great location, excellent facilities and sustainability built-in.”

The development at the corner of Long Reach Road and Creek Road, Barking, will house tenants in flexible units arranged around a vehicle accessible multi-storey hub.

The experience for visitors and neighbours will be enhanced by green walls, business lounge, lively shopfronts and a new local café.

Importantly, Industria is expected to provide jobs for up to 250 people.

Key features:

  • four storey core buildings arranged each side of the courtyard
  • Flexible light industrial units from from 1700-5200 sqft (160-475 sqm) and flatted factory units from 140-2500 sqft (15-230 sqm)
  • Goods lifts and vehicle ramp with vehicle access across three floors
  • Business centre, meeting rooms and staffed reception
  • Fully glazed ground floor shop units with a cafe – open to the public
  • On-site parking and cycle parking
  • Excellent BREEAM rating for sustainability and environmental impact
  • Top quality landscaping
  • An estimated 230-250 people employed on site

Building work at the site is expected to start in the Summer 2021.

Barking set to be home to inspirational east end street art

A street style mural depicting Barking’s rich history will adorn the side wall of McDonald’s Restaurant in East Street this summer.

The initial design by Jake Attewell was voted the Winner of the Heritage Wall Commission competition, which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Barking Town Heritage Project and ran by Be First on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

The winning piece, entitled ‘Barking’s Lost Heritage’, was voted the winner out of 14 submissions by a short-listing panel, including Council and Be First staff, Heritage Volunteers, and members of the local community.

Councillor Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Social Housing said: “This is an inspirational modern take on Barking’s rich and diverse past and I am convinced it will be a real winner with the public.”

David Harley, Head of regeneration at Be First said: “Barking is fast becoming known as one of London’s arts and creative hotspot and this outstanding piece I am sure will become a real landmark – a modern take on the town’s history!

Jake, who graduated from Arts University College Bournemouth and has been a professional mural artist for five years has already had some of his work displayed in east London with one of his most recent mural commissions – his Clara Grant mural in Bow, for the London Mural Festival, last autumn.

Jake said: “I am extremely honoured to have been chosen to complete The Barking Heritage Mural Project. I’m very much looking forward to getting started as it is such a great location and I believe I can create something that Barking residents can be really proud of.”

Residents will get the opportunity to choose the final design to be painted on the Heritage Wall, in Short Blue Place, Barking, by taking part in a vote organised by the artist and there will be opportunities for local people and students to engage with him throughout the process.

And Tamara Fround (a mosaic artist) has also been awarded a commission to create a mosaic heritage trail in the paving, linking historic Barking (Town Quay, Abbey Green & Curfew Tower) with the Heritage Wall mural in Short Blue Place.

Consultation gets underway on unique ‘One Borough’ development

Residents of the Andrew’s Corner neighbourhood on the Becontree Estate are being invited to give their views about a unique housing and community development at Brocklebank Lodge.

Leaflets have been distributed to 500 residents asking for comments on the council’s latest proposals for replacing the former old people’s home in Becontree Avenue.  The initial plan is for a new development of 53 affordable new homes for local people and a community space.  It could also include approximately 15 supported homes for disabled people which could be let to people who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Marcia Kirlew, Development Manager at Be First, said: “We’re very interested to hear what local people think about our ‘one borough’ development.  As well as providing much-needed affordable homes to the area, it could provide supported housing for disabled people and a community space.

“We are particularly keen to find out how local people would like to use the community space – it could provide spaces to read and learn, for example, or an area to be active and socialise.”

The consultation runs until 28 February and more details are available here.

We’re delivering local jobs for local people

Around 20 per cent of all construction staff working on Be First developments in Barking and Dagenham live in the borough according to new figures released today from Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm.

As of today (8 February), 231 workers out of 1,150 who have started work across Be First’s 11 development sites, are based locally.

Tom Mather, Construction Director at Be First, said: “We insist our contractors look to employ local people as part of our commitment to socially inclusive regeneration.

“We’re not just about bricks and mortar at Be First, we’re about hearts and minds too – which means we’re delivering great homes and job opportunities for local people.”

The jobs news comes as Be First celebrates National Apprentice Week.

Almost ten per cent of its Be First’s workforce are trainees or apprentices.

Sarah O’Connor, who is an apprentice Trainee Development Manager, was born and bred in Barking.

Sarah has worked at Be First for two years and is currently undertaking a degree apprenticeship in building surveying.

She said: “Be First has provided me the opportunity to both work and continue studying to become a Chartered Building Surveyor. Seeing pink hoarding and Be First cranes around the borough on my daily walks is really rewarding.

“Everyone should be proud of the work they are doing in a borough that so desperately needed regenerating. I look forward to becoming RICS accredited and having a further positive impact in both the company and the borough.”