Affordable homes coming to Marks Gate

Seventy new homes are coming to Marks Gate next year, as a housing block in the Padnall lake development nears completion. Delivered by Be First, the regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council, the new block sits adjacent to the newly opened Padnall lake.

To celebrate the near completion, a topping out ceremony was held at the new block, called Newcombe House, with Mark Crane, Development Director at Be First, the Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Saima Ashraf and our contractors J. Murphy and Sons Ltd (Murphy).

Be First has a strong history of creating new, high-quality homes for people and communities in Barking and Dagenham, and through its work the borough has been named the most affordable for housing in London. At Padnall Lake, there will be 70 units in total, made up of 26 three-bedroom town houses and 44 flats one- and two- bedroom flats, all offered at affordable rent.

As part of the wider Padnall Lake development and its continued commitment to improving the borough for residents and communities, Be First has completely refurbished the area, breathing new life into the popular local lake in Chadwell Heath. The company improved the cleanliness of the lake, enhanced biodiversity, created new cycling and walking paths, delivered significant open space, and provided a new community space for residents.

Deputy Council Leader, Cllr Saima Ashraf said:

“It’s great to see more homes being built here by our partners at Be First and contractors at Murphy. We aren’t just building flats here, but family sized town houses too, so local families can stay local. We are delivering on our promises to build more affordable, safe housing for local people.”

Mark Crane, Director of Delivery, Be First said:

“This area of the borough has one of the highest levels of housing need and we are working with the Council to give priority to local people who want to live in the new homes. We are grateful to our partners Murphy, who have done such a good job building this development and tidying up Padnall Lake next door for residents to enjoy.

“At Be First, we are creating places which everyone can be proud of and are committed to creating a fairer borough and building opportunity for all.”

Miles Cobley, Specialist Business Managing Director, at Murphy, said:

“At Murphy our purpose is to improve life by delivering world-class infrastructure, and so we are particularly pleased to be delivering this project to provide high quality new homes for the benefit of the local community here in Marks Gate. We take great care to ensure that every project we undertake is executed to the highest standard, and this project is no exception. We are proud to be working alongside our valued client, Be First to bring this project to fruition.”

Work started in Aug 2021 and the proposed completion date is May 2024, with a move in date set for later that year.

The lake and the play area are all part of the Phase One project for Padnall Lake, which includes the flats, the houses, and a lot of investment into the lake and amenity spaces.

Be First secure £10.9m for major transformation of Dagenham Heathway

• Successful bid confirmed in second round of Government’s Levelling Up Fund

• Major development to rejuvenate Dagenham Heathway in consultation with local community

• Projects will deliver improved public realm, 316 new homes and protect 241 jobs

Be First, the council’s successful regeneration and development body, will push ahead with a groundbreaking scheme to reinvigorate Dagenham, after securing funding on behalf of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, through the Government’s highly competitive Levelling Up Fund.

The news comes hot on the heels of wider housing and improvement projects in the borough which has already seen significant investment through Be First with new homes and commercial opportunities including two film studios and the three markets of London – leading to Barking and Dagenham being known as “one of London’s biggest growth opportunities”.

The £10.9m funding will be used to breathe new life into the Heathway by replacing tired and dilapidated housing in Millard Terrace and creating 5000sqm of new commercial space alongside 316 new affordable homes and the creation of a new centre for Dagenham Heathway. The proposals will be developed in close consultation with residents, businesses and community organisations.

As part of plans to reduce carbon emissions and make the borough healthier and greener, there will also be a focus on new and improved pedestrian and cycle paths, with additional measures to improve and calm traffic in the area.

Cllr Darren Rodwell commented: “This is great news for Dagenham and the borough. The Heathway is long overdue a makeover. Be First’s successful bid will see it transformed with new shops, homes and a centre that will make it more of a destination for local shoppers. And it shows yet again we are delivering on our promises to provide much-needed high-quality, affordable homes. But truth be told, this is a drop in the ocean. We need far more government investment if levelling up is to be more than just a token gesture.”

Speaking as the funding was announced, Be First Managing Director Kevin O’Brien said: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised the strong case for investment in the Dagenham Heathway project, which was based on recommendations from the High Streets Task Force and has strong support locally.

“This latest project supports our mission to deliver 50,000 new homes across the borough and, more importantly, rejuvenate the local town centre for the people, businesses and local community – with plans to increase pedestrian walkways and make the borough more environmentally friendly.”

The grant will support the preliminary stages of bringing forward a future development at the Heathway; the project is still in its early stages. It will take some time for a redevelopment to come forward given the scale and the ongoing public engagement that will be central to this. The public realm works will be completed by 2025.

Wates Residential appointed to build 334 new mixed-tenure homes in Barking and Dagenham

Be First has appointed leading developer Wates Residential to create 334 new homes as part of the ongoing regeneration of the Gascoigne Estate. Construction will start in June 2023, with the homes due for completion by Q1 2026.

With a strong track record in delivering new, high-quality homes for people and communities in Barking and Dagenham, through its work Be First has seen the borough named the most affordable for housing in the capital. The latest phase of this major development will complement the award-winning regeneration of the eastern side of the Gascoigne Estate, where Be First is delivering 526 new flats.

In a testament to their collaborative and ongoing partnership, this will be the third project that Wates has undertaken for Be First in the Gascoigne area. The £142m Gascoigne East Phase B3 scheme will provide 277 apartments, 46 houses and 11 maisonettes as well as new public spaces connecting pedestrian and public transport links, centred around a Garden Square at the east of the site.

Be First places a strong emphasis on ensuring that local communities benefit as much as possible from the development and regeneration projects happening in the borough. Through the Gascoigne East Phase 3B project, Wates is planning 13 apprenticeships and a minimum of 40 placements for local people as part of £30m delivered in social value to the area.

The wider Gascoigne Estate will include tree-lined public spaces, a new 5,000 sqm park – Gascoigne Square – along with public art and stunning designs in a mixture of traditional and modern styles.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, said:

“Despite the current economic climate our progress continues in the Gascoigne Neighbourhood, where we will continue to provide safe, warm, affordable housing for our residents. Once finished the new Gascoigne neighbourhood will be one of the greenest, most affordable neighbourhoods in town.

“This project is part of our wider commitment to build 50,000 new homes by 2037 across the borough. We look forward to seeing the development become reality and further increasing our supply of good quality housing for the people of Barking and Dagenham.”

Kevin O’Brien, Managing Director, Be First London, said:

“We’re passionate about delivering for Barking and Dagenham and making sure that the borough is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Wates shares our commitment and values and has demonstrated this on existing projects within the borough, which is why we are happy to be working with them on this latest phase of the Gascoigne Estate.”

Helen Bunch, Executive Managing Director, Wates Residential, says:

“Having recently successfully delivered 201 homes for people in Barking at Gascoigne West Phase 1 we are delighted to continue our commitment to deliver high quality homes to this community.

“We believe everyone deserves a great place to live, and key to this is the overarching economic, social and environmental benefit to local people and businesses that will be intrinsic to this project.”

Striding to school with Strider

WOW mascot encourages Barking & Dagenham pupils as they embark on healthy travel challenge

As we enter 2023, many people will be setting their New Year’s resolutions. For Barking & Dagenham school pupils, they’ll be encouraging their parents and carers to swap the car for the cycle, scooter or a walk – thanks to a recent school assembly visit by Strider, the WOW Walk to School Challenge mascot.

An initiative by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, WOW encourages pupils and parents to take part in healthier school commutes by making it easier and safer for pupils and parents to ditch the car as part of their school commute.

Be First, the independent urban regeneration company wholly owned by Barking and Dagenham Council, is working with schools within the borough through the company’s Active Travel programme to get more school children involved in the WOW initiative.

Martin Nicholson, Headteacher at Grafton Primary School:
“Embarking on the WOW walk to school challenge has been fantastic for our pupils and our school. Walking, cycling, or scooting to school are great ways of helping our children feel happier and healthier. Our pupils are arriving to school more refreshed and ready to learn – there’s been a noticeable difference in their concentration levels.”

Cllr Elizabeth Kangethe, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment & School Improvement at Barking & Dagenham Council, said:
“The WOW walk to school challenge is important on several levels for London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. From a student wellbeing perspective, it promotes mental and physical health. In terms of what it means for the borough, one in four cars on the road each morning in the UK is on the school run, so having fewer cars on the roads improves road safety around our schools, as well as reducing vehicle emissions in the area.

“We’re proud to work with Living Streets on WOW and to continue our school active travel programme to deliver a safer and healthier Barking and Dagenham.”

Stephen Edwards, CEO of Living Streets, said:
“It’s fantastic to join Grafton School pupils to celebrate the work they are doing to get more active on the journey to school.

“Our WOW schools typically see a 23 per cent increase in walk to school rates and a 30 per cent reduction in cars at the school gates, helping to reduce congestion, air pollution and childhood inactivity. It’s great to be working with the council to bring WOW and its benefits to more schools across the borough.”