Stunning new linear park opens

London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, and Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, officially opened the newly designed Ripple Greenway linear park on Thursday 24 June 2021.

The 1.3km park provides a beautiful new walking and cycling route for thousands of local people and a much-needed green space for residents.

The park links the existing community with Barking town centre and the fast-growing Barking Riverside area. This includes new housing, the new Riverside School campus and Barking Riverside Overground Station to be opened in 2022.

The Ripple Greenway now has natural “Play on the Way” features: wooden climbing logs; mini wooden bridges and a group swing. These are designed for children to have fun on their journey to school or when they are in the park.

There is an exercise equipment trail for anyone wanting to keep fit as well as picnic tables and benches. The smooth tarmac path is lined with oak benches which makes it easier to walk, wheel and cycle to work, school or just for fun.

This ambitious transformation of the Ripple Greenway was made possible with £440,000 from the Mayor of London’s Capital Green Grant and £350,000 provided by Barking and Dagenham regeneration experts Be First.

Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Public Realm at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham said:“I’m delighted to see that residents have designed such a beautiful, accessible art-trail, with play on the way, on this increasingly important green artery which connects the growing communities at Barking and Barking Riverside. I commend everyone involved for making it such a success.”

Local residents’ groups have been central to the design process which has given new life to this previously underused area that was overgrown and not easily accessible.

The following changes were popular among residents:
• Removal of spiked metal fencing
• Introduction a smooth tarmac path to make it easier to walk, wheel and cycle
• Addition of new oak benches
• Building natural play features for children to play on the way
• Lighting for personal safety which is sensitive to local wildlife
• New artwork commissions
• Planting hundreds of new trees and bulbs.

‘Turnkey’ Dagenham development tops out

Building work on 90 affordable homes at a former Job Centre site in South Dagenham reached a major milestone this week.

The structure of the new homes in Chequers Lane is now complete.

And, to celebrate the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell met Kevin Parsons, Director of Hollybrook Ltd, who are building the homes as part an innovative agreement with the Council.

Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “This development will unlock more affordable homes for local people and help deliver wider benefits to Dagenham. With thousands of homes coming to Beam Park, the relocation of the City of London markets and, of course, London’s largest film and TV studios coming too, Dagenham has truly become a remarkable story of successful regeneration.”

Kevin Parsons, Director at Hollybrook, said: “The transformation and regeneration of Dagenham is now well underway and this great project occupying such a prominent position is yet further testimony to that. Everyone involved in making this project happen should be very proud.”

Initially the site had planning permission for 77 homes of which only 16 per cent were affordable but thanks to an agreement brokered by the Council’s regeneration organisation Be First, all the homes will now be affordable.

The agreement means that once Hollybrook complete construction, the council will take ownership of 90 homes, with 69 per cent at affordable rent, and 31 per cent at London Affordable Rent – with rent for a one-bedroom flat starting at £160 a week.

Deon Browne, Assistant Construction Manager at Be First, said: “This is a superb investment for the council and a great day for Dagenham with a fantastic, high quality development delivering 100 per cent affordable housing for local people.”

The total development costs for Barking and Dagenham Council are £25m.

Three lions honoured

Roberta Moore, daughter of England and West Ham legend Bobby Moore OBE, visited the building site of one of east London’s newest housing developments, which will have its three constituent buildings named after her father, Sir Alf Ramsey and Martin Peters MBE.

All three Lions were either born or bred in Barking and Dagenham and were pivotal to England winning the World Cup in 1966.

Roberta met Barking and Dagenham Council Leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell to inspect on-going building work at the development in Upney and see for herself the building which will be named after her father.

Roberta said: “It is my absolute pleasure and honour to be here today to see this great new development and the progress of the building that will be named after my father.

“Alongside his colleagues, Sir Alf and Martin, I know my father would be truly humbled and deeply touched by the naming of these buildings in recognition of their achievements, and it couldn’t be more fitting that the homes will provide quality accommodation for working Londoners, as they all were. My sincere thanks and gratitude to all those involved, I couldn’t be more proud.”

Cllr Rodwell said: “This borough has consistently produced legendary footballers such as Bobby, Martin Peters and Sir Alf, and we are also continuing our tradition in providing quality homes for ordinary working Londoners, so it makes sense to name this great new development after these local legends.
“And let’s hope England can beat Scotland, go on to win the Euros and emulate these glorious three Lions who we’re proud to call our own!”

Sam Parry, Construction Manager of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Regeneration arm, said: “We’re extremely proud to be building a great new development which will provide quality homes at prices working people can afford. It’s fitting that these new homes will be named after three humble but extraordinary sportsmen.”

Jonathan Jerram of Jerram Falkus, which is the main contractor for the development said: “It is an honour to be here today with Roberta Moore to view our progress at Sebastian Court and to celebrate both local and national heroes such as her father by naming the buildings after them. As we approach completion, I would like to say how proud we are of this development. It has been a pleasure to have partnered with Be First to build the much-needed new homes and communal space in this area, which I am sure will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

The development is set to be completed by autumn and will provide 95 new homes. The council will let 33 flats to tenants at affordable rents, 29 at London affordable rent and offer the remaining 33 for shared ownership.

Kristian Melgaard, Managing Director of Reside, Barking and Dagenham Council’s affordable housing company, said: “Anyone renting or taking on shared ownership of one of these quality homes in any of the buildings named after these iconic sportsmen, will be a real winner

Major redevelopment reaches milestone

One of east London’s largest regeneration projects has reached a major milestone.

The structure of the first block, known as Arbor Court, in the latest phase of the redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood in Barking, is now complete.

To celebrate the milestone, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell joined Pat Hayes of Be First and Willmott Dixon’s Group Chief Executive, Rick Willmott, at a topping out ceremony.

Cllr Darren Rodwell said: “The redeveloped Gascoigne will be one of the greenest, most affordable places to live for ordinary working people in London.

“Reaching this real milestone in the redevelopment of the Gascoigne is a great day for the neighbourhood, Barking and Dagenham and east London.”

Chris Tredget, Managing Director at Willmott Dixon said: “The topping out of Arbor Court is a fantastic milestone to reach in the redevelopment of the east side of Gascoigne neighbourhood.

“We’re delighted to be able to celebrate this achievement and look forward to the completion of the first 52 homes to be delivered, as part of the 434 homes we are undertaking in partnership with Be First.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First said: “Our ambition is for the new Gascoigne neighbourhood to be a model of 21st century urban living. So, this topping out ceremony is the first chapter in a fantastic new story for the Gascoigne area and another outstanding example of regeneration in Barking and Dagenham.”

Arbor Court will be fitted out and finished by January 2022. It will feature 52 homes with rents as low as £160 a week for a one-bedroom flat*

It will be the first block of 2,162 new homes for local people in the redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood.

The new Gascoigne neighbourhood will be one of the most sustainable ’15 minute’ neighbourhoods in London.

It will feature:

• Three new parks, tree lined streets and courtyards and walkable routes
• Community gardens and orchards
• Over 1,600 cycle spaces
• Roof terraces with solar panels

*2021/22 LAR rates for a one-bedroom flat.

Landmark building nears completion

An east London development which is a key part of the regeneration of Barking town centre has reached a major milestone this week.

The 20-storey tower in Linton Road – currently known as Crown House – has reached its full height and is set to be finished in the Spring of 2022.

It will provide 169 below affordable homes in the heart of Barking for local people.

Speaking at a topping out ceremony, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said reaching the milestone was a major step forward in the council’s bid to create a new, vibrant town centre.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see this development really taking off. It will provide much needed homes for aspirational working people in the heart Barking.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First the Councils development organisation, said: “This new development will provide top quality rented homes for local people in the centre of what is fast becoming one of the most exciting places to live in east London.”

Kim Bromley-Derry, Executive Director at McLaren Group, builders of the new development, said: “COVID-19 has presented a unique challenge that none have us have ever experienced before, particularly in conjunction with delivering such an important building for BeFirst and Barking and Dagenham Council in the heart of Barking.

“To reach the top here, we have had to dig deep and use incredible team spirit and innovative thinking to re-sequence the way we work in such a logistically challenging location. But we’ve made it. The building is now structurally complete, and we are now heading full steam ahead towards being completely weathertight with the interior fit-out also commencing as we speak.

“Another really important factor here has been how we’ve successfully integrated local businesses into the project. My team, assisted by the Barking and Dagenham job shop and our local supply chain have already met our project targets for locally employed people and local resident trainee opportunities. With almost one year still to go to handover, I am confident that we will now build upon this achievement and continue to bring more employment opportunities to the people in the local community.”

In addition to the 20-storey tower, the completed development will feature two shoulder blocks of nine and ten storeys – there will be 80 one-bedroom, 71 two-bedroom and 18 three-bedroom flats. A third of the homes will be shared ownership while the remaining will be below market rent.