East London borough gears up for BikeFest

Youngsters from Barking and Dagenham Cycling Club met professional cyclists from the AWOL O’Shea and Brother UK – LDN cycling teams today, together with Councillor Syed Ghani, of Barking and Dagenham Council, to announce a festival of cycling and sustainability in May, incorporating the UK’s leading gender equal cycling races.

The races will be the only London round of the televised Tour Series event and will form part of a wider Barking BikeFest, which will take place around the historic Abbey Green on 21 May.

Barking will host the series in the year that the event will start alternating between staging the men’s and women’s races first and second on the schedule. Additionally, both events will take place over the same one hour and five lap distance, with the series continuing to offer equal prize pots for the winners. Winners of the women’s race will receive the Mary Wollstonecraft Cup after the pioneering feminist who once lived in the borough.

Cllr Ghani, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Cabinet member for Public Realm, said: “BikeFest is going to be a fantastic free event for all the family. Not only will it be a wonderful celebration of cycling and sustainability but also of equality.

“It’s fitting Barking is to host a gender equal cycling event as I believe our borough is the birthplace of feminism in the UK. From Mary Wollstonecraft, who lived here, to the Dagenham Ford women strikers, this borough has always fought hard for fairness and equality.”

Mick Bennett, Tour Series race director, said: “I know cycling fans have been clamouring for the Tour Series to return to London, so I hope they start making plans to come to Barking on Saturday 21 May! We’re excited to be a part of the first-ever BikeFest, which promises to be a fantastic community event, and I can only thank everybody involved behind-the-scenes for all of their efforts so far. You won’t want to miss this – it’s going to be great!”

Russell Coe, Secretary of Barking and Dagenham Cycling Club, said: “It’s brilliant that Barking is hosting the London round of the Tour Series in 2022 and opening up and promoting cycling in the community by hosting BikeFest – it’s a bold and visionary move from the council and Be First.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration arm, which is helping to organise BikeFest, said: “We’re really looking forward to the BikeFest which will have top class racing and will be a wonderful community event to celebrate and promote cycling, healthy living and green sustainable travel.”

The Barking BikeFest will run from 11am to 9pm and will also include:

• Community BikeFest – mass participation events on the race-course for local people
• The Green Village – community fun and entertainment on Abbey Green
• Electric Avenue- showcasing green travel technology

Further information on timings of the day’s events will follow.

We’re making it happen in Barking and Dagenham

Building work started today on the latest phase of one of London’s largest regeneration developments.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, visited the site to meet staff, recruited locally, who are now working for contractors Willmott Dixon.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see work start on more affordable homes for local people. And it’s fantastic to meet so many local people helping to build the new Gascoigne neighbourhood.

“It’s a great example of the scale and pace of work that our regeneration organisation, Be First, is achieving – delivering more affordable homes and creating opportunities. Together we’re really making it happen.”

Muhammed Irbaz Ali, who is from Dagenham and is an Apprentice Document Controller at Willmott Dixon, said: “To be able to be directly involved in the regeneration of my local area, knowing that it will positively impact current and future generations, is something I’m incredibly proud to be a part of.”

The ground-breaking ceremony coincided with the publication by Be First of their progress report, called Making it Happen, which provides details of its work building new homes and creating jobs in the local economy.

Cllr Rodwell was also joined by Chris Tredget, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon and Lord Kerslake, Chairman of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm.

Lord Kerslake said: “Be First has made great strides since it was set up in late 2017. We are delivering hundreds of homes for local people with thousands more in the pipeline. And through our development programme nearly a thousand local people are employed in helping to build a better borough. It’s clear, we’re really making it happen in Barking and Dagenham.”

Chris Tredget of Willmott Dixon said: “We are delighted to start work on the next phase at Gascoigne East, providing a further 124 high quality homes for the people of Barking. Sustainability is at the heart of this project and we’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with the local community.”

Tom Mather said: “The new homes on this site are part of our main mission to accelerate growth and deliver real regeneration. We’re well on our way to complete nearly 10,000 homes within ten years.”

The homes consist of 32 one bedroom, 50 two-bedroom, 36 three-bedroom and six four-bedroom flats with rents starting from £168 a week at today’s prices (2022/23).

Building work is set to be finished in the Autumn of 2023.

To view a short video on Be First’s progress report click here or to read the report click here

Barking gateway development deal sealed

An agreement to build 198 homes for local people at the gateway to Barking has been finalised this week.

Railpen, the investment manager for the £35bn Railways Pension Scheme, has announced it has entered into a funding deal with real estate specialists Revenue + Capital and developer Fifth Capital for the development of a 28 storey, 198 build -to-rent and affordable housing apartments at Trocoll House in Barking.

The site originally received planning consent in 2017 for 198 homes without any affordable homes.

However, following intervention from Be First, the Council’s regeneration organisation and Revenue + Capital, new proposals including 35 per cent affordable homes were presented to Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee in 2019 which received consent.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This agreement means a tired, tatty old building will be replaced providing nearly 200 new homes for local people.

“This development, alongside a restored and improved station, will create a great new gateway to Barking. It’s further evidence of the council’s commitment to revitalising Barking town centre, while also ensuring homes and opportunities for residents of the borough.”

Marc Pennick, CEO of Fifth Capital, commented: “Fifth Capital are excited to be working on such a key regeneration project in Barking. The development with revolutionise the local area and provide high quality housing for the borough. We look forward to continue working with Barking and Dagenham Council and delivering this scheme”

Richard Walsh, Founder of Revenue + Capital, added: “It is great to be part of such a transformative development for the town centre and one which would not have been possible without the collaborative approach shown between the teams at R+C, Railpen, Barking and Dagenham and Fifth Capital. With construction due to start this year and an expected completion of 2025, this is going to help Barking and Dagenham realise its vision of regenerating the area around Barking station.”

Julian Allport, Investment Manager at Railpen, commented: “We are pleased to have agreed this deal with Fifth Capital for the development of Trocoll House. The build to rent sector has been resilient throughout the pandemic, delivering strong investment returns. We look forward to being a long-term partner of Barking and Dagenham Council.”

The restoration of Barking Station will keep its Grade 2 listed canopy which is based on Roma Termini station in Rome.

The redevelopment of Trocoll House will see current occupiers, Wetherspoons, vacate while Henry Construction completes the Farrells designed tower. The pub chain will return to take a new commercial unit below the 198 new apartments.

Work on the site, which was negotiated with Network Rail is due to start by Easter 2022 and will take two years to complete.

On completion, the entire building will be leased by Barking and Dagenham Council for 50 years and the freehold acquired for £1.

The deal was negotiated by Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s wholly owned regeneration company, which pulled the deal together with other parties.

Ed Skeates, Development Director at Be First said: “This site is directly adjacent to Barking Station and the new building will transform the experience of people coming into and out of the town centre and will also be an amazingly convenient and vibrant place to live for our residents.”