Mural magic shines a light on Barking’s heritage

Barking’s stunning new heritage mural – on the wall of McDonalds on Short Blue Place – was brought to life in a magical light show on the evening of Wednesday 24 November.

Bertie Sampson, Creative Technologist at Immersive-me, animated the mural using lights, giving the appearance that the elements of Jake Attewell’s work are moving.

Crafts, face-painting, gingerbread, and hot drinks were also available throughout the evening of the show at Short Blue Place.

Simone Panayi, Community Engagement Officer at Be First, said “The animation of this beautiful mural celebrated Barking’s heritage in a very special way.

“It was an opportunity for residents to engage with the past and watch it come to life in front of their very eyes, as if by magic. It’ll be a real head-turner and the perfect family Winter outing.”

The mural was painted by Jake Attewell and commissioned by the council’s regeneration company, Be First, with National Lottery Heritage funding to remind the residents of Barking’s incredible heritage.

Pictured above are from left to right: Mural artist Jake Attewell; Deputy Leader of the council, Councillor Saima Ashraf; Leader of the Council, Darren Rodwell; Selina Papa from the project funders the National Lottery Heritage Fund; and Simone Panayi.

You can see the mural come to life here.

Ten days to go to get involved on local plan

Residents have got ten days to take one last look at its final draft of the Local Plan this autumn, as public consultation on 28 November.

The Local Plan is a vitally important planning tool that sets out where and what kind of development will be encouraged in Barking and Dagenham between now and 2037.

Consultation started at the end of 2019 and hundreds of comments and suggestions have been received and considered before the final draft was published last month.

Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet member for Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “I cannot stress enough how important the Local Plan is – it will help to determine the scale, pace and quality of development that takes place in the borough over the next 20 years and sets out how we will ensure that local people really feel the benefit.

“We’ve strengthened this plan very significantly since the last draft, in response to the hundreds of comments and suggestions we’ve received. So, I must thank everybody that responded, but ask them to take a final look before we submit the final draft at the end of the autumn.”

Every local planning authority is legally required to have a Local Plan which sets out where the council expects growth to occur and what kinds of growth it will support. It is a technical document but it is used by planners to determine whether investors, developers and builders’ plans are permissible.

The draft plan will be submitted to an independent planning inspector for examination by the New Year but the final public consultation will run from 11 October to until 28 November.

The draft is available online and in every library in the borough.

Gascoigne pupils’ art unveiled

Local school pupils’ artwork, celebrating the past, present and future of the Gascoigne neighbourhood in Barking, is being displayed on hoardings surrounding redevelopment sites.

The art by students from Gascoigne Primary School was created as part of the ‘Gascoigne Your Place’ competition run by Be First during the first lockdown in 2020.

This week local councillors, Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member Regeneration and Economic Development; Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement; and Cllr Abdul Aziz, visited the site and met competition winner, six-year old Rithvi Reddy Vaddepally, and staff from Gascoigne Primary School.

Rithvi’s parents, Harika Vaddepally and Ramchander Reddy Vaddepally, said: “Rithvi was exited to participate in the competition and she was really surprised to win. Thank you for giving her the opportunity to be part of this competition and for encouraging the kids.”

Cllr Ashraf said: “It’s fantastic to see this artwork – it’s a testament to the love, passion and engagement local youngsters have for their neighbourhood.”
The art competition was run by Be First who are delivering the redevelopment of Gascoigne on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

Gascoigne Primary School students were asked to create a piece of art or write some words about their neighbourhood.

For the Early Years category, entrants were asked to draw or paint a picture of a place that they liked in their neighbourhood on their way to school.

For Key Stage 1, entrants had to draw a map of their journey to school highlighting interesting new buildings, places, streets, trees and playgrounds. Key Stage 2 entrants were asked to make a drawing and write a few sentences describing how their neighbourhood is changing due to the current construction and how they would like it to improve.

Ben Addison, Construction Manager at Be First, said: “The community is at the heart of what we do at Be First so it’s great to give local young people a chance to contribute as we work to make the new Gascoigne neighbourhood one of the most liveable places in London. It’s about hearts and minds as well as bricks and mortar – it’s what we call real regeneration.”

Powerful message rings true 100 years on

Artwork with a powerful message adorns hoardings surrounding an affordable development in Becontree thanks to local young people.

The message – “Bricks make houses – People make homes” – is emblazoned across a stretch of hoardings at the new Woodward Road development, which will deliver 56 quality, new homes.

The artwork was designed and made by young people from Barking and Dagenham’s Youth Forum with help from local artists Ben Martin and Griffi, alongside Studio 3 Arts.

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, who met the young people and artists this week at the site, said: “This is such a powerful and poignant message as we celebrate 100 years of the Becontree estate this year, a development which set the standard of homes for working people. And 100 years on we’re still delivering great homes for ordinary people in Barking and Dagenham.”

Zubin Burley, Deputy Chair of the BAD Youth forum, said: “As Deputy Chair of the BAD Youth Forum, I am proud to see our messages of both diversity and unity brought to light to be seen by all. I hope that this acts as an emblem to convey to the community that young people care and show interest for the future of our area. Through hours of planning, painting and of course rain, we collectively enjoyed the process and cannot wait to see these houses become homes.”

Rosie Ross, Senior Creative Producer at Studio 3 Art, said: “Studio 3 Arts have a long- standing relationship making outstanding art with the people of Barking and Dagenham. We are delighted to support the young people from the BAD Forum, their artwork makes a bold and confident statement that brightens up the local area.”

The artwork is part of a wider project involving Be First, Studio 3 Arts, schools, groups and artists who are working on a series of artworks that will be displayed on hoardings of development sites across the borough. The designs will celebrate the history, heritage and the future of the area.

Sadia Ur-Rehman, Community Engagement Coordinator at Be First, said: “At Be First, we firmly believe real regeneration is not just about houses but building great places too, and we know art is also at the heart of vibrant communities.”
To find out more about these artworks and the wider project of artworks across the borough, visit:
Art on Hoardings | Your Call Be First London