Barking and Dagenham’s battle against climate change continues

A major milestone has been reached in the building of Barking’s greenest housing block this week.

The housing block in the redeveloping Gascoigne neighbourhood, features 124 affordable homes and will be the first net zero carbon building to be delivered by Be First, which is managing the redevelopment on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

And to celebrate the achievement deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Cllr Saima Ashraf met Steve Kitchen of contractors Willmott Dixon and Jared Birch of Be First at a topping out ceremony.

Cllr Ashraf, Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is a huge step in our march towards Barking and Dagenham becoming the green capital of London, and cementing our position as London’s largest builder of council homes.

“Once finished the new Gascoigne estate will be one of the greenest, most affordable neighbourhoods in town.”

Steve Kitchen, Operations Director, Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating this milestone with both Barking and Dagenham Council and Be First. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Willmott Dixon, so to be constructing Be First’s first net zero carbon building is something we’re very proud to be a part of.”

Jared Birch, Deputy Construction Director, Be First, said: “It’s a tremendous achievement by Willmott Dixon to get to this stage in the current economic climate. But it’s crucial we deliver not only affordable homes for local people but eco-friendly buildings too, to play our part in the battle against climate change.”

The 124 homes feature one-, two- and three-bedroom flats with rents starting from £168 a week at today’s prices.

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
  • Photovoltaic panels on roof spaces.


* The 15-minute neighbourhood – will provide residents access to most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from their home, making life more liveable for residents, by improving air quality and making neighbourhoods safer, quieter, more diverse, inclusive and economically vibrant.

Need to build affordable homes is crucial says east London Leader

An east London council leader has said this week, that the building of affordable rental homes for ordinary working people has never been more important.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “With the turmoil in the mortgage markets and a sharp rise in interest rates on the horizon, it remains vital that local authorities build affordable rented, homes for ordinary working people.”

Cllr Rodwell was speaking following a topping out ceremony at the redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood in Barking, this week.

Cllr Rodwell said: “The redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood is one of the largest and ambitious in London. Once completed it will be a model of green, urban living delivering genuinely affordable homes, treeline courtyards and streets and spaces for local families and people to live, enjoy and thrive.”

Cllr Rodwell was joined at the ceremony by Sir James Wates – Chairman of the Wates Group, builders of over 2,100 new homes on the redevelopment, and Mark Crane of Be First, who is managing the regeneration project.  

Yesterday’s event featured the topping out of 386 homes which will be rented out to local people for around £105 a week for a one bed-room flat*.

Sir James said: “This celebration, on site here in Barking, represents a step in the right direction in providing affordable rented properties for local people who will soon be living in and working from these warm, comfortable and energy efficient homes. Last year, 40% of all homes built by Wates Residential were classed as affordable, and it is only by working in partnership with public sector organisations like Be First that these homes can be delivered”.

Mark Crane, Head of Affordable Housing Delivery said: “The redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood is Be First’s biggest development, as part of an ambitious housing delivery programme that will provide thousands of high-quality affordable homes for local people, together with new public realm and community facilities that will benefit new residents moving into the borough, as well as existing residents. We are working hard with our partners to overcome the economic challenges we are currently facing, in order to continue building affordable homes for local people.”

Wates has been working closely within the borough, employing the services of businesses and people in the local area to provide an economic boost. So far, 1,131 hours have also been invested into volunteering in and supporting the community on projects such as the creation of Phoenix Park – a new pocket park designed by residents. A total of 719 students have been supported by education activities and programmes to improve the employability of young people.

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

*These prices do not include service charge

We want your views on the draft Chadwell Heath Transformation Area Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document

Barking and Dagenham Council has ambitious plans for growth, including the creation of thousands of new homes and jobs.

Many of these homes and jobs will be created in the Borough’s transformation areas as set out in the emerging Barking and Dagenham 2037 Local Plan. One of these areas covers the Chadwell Heath Industrial Estate, and we would like your views on our plans for development coming forward in the area.

Be First, on behalf of the Council, have prepared a draft masterplan for the area, setting out in more detail where different types of development should come forward, and the expected provision with regard to necessary supporting infrastructure such as education facilities, green spaces and the wider public realm. This document supplements the emerging Local Plan 2037, providing further guidance for developers, and more detailed information for the local community and other interested stakeholders. Once adopted by the Council, the Masterplan (as a supplementary planning document) will be pivotal in helping to shape development in the area as it will be a material consideration in planning decisions.

Tell us your views on these proposals! To contribute to our online consultation, please visit the Council’s Supplementary Planning Document webpage to find out how to view the Masterplan and submit your thoughts. The consultation is open for comments between until 23:59 Monday 14th November 2022. Your feedback will help us finalise the Masterplan before it is formally adopted.