Padnall Lake, the popular local lake in Chadwell Heath, which runs next to the Mark’s Gate neighbourhood, alongside the A12, officially re-opened to the public this week after a major refurbishment, delivered by Be First, the regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council.

Although popular with residents, the lake had suffered from a lack of maintenance which had resulted in overgrown vegetation, uneven footpaths and had led to anti-social behaviour such as graffiti, litter and household appliances being dumped in the lake.

Be First has now completely refurbished this area as part of the Padnall Lake development. Beginning with a community consultation to understand what residents wanted from the space, they then worked with their contractors, J Murphy & Sons and architects HTA Design to bring that vision to life.

The priorities for Padnall Lake which were listened to and delivered, include:
• Enhancing and connecting local biodiversity
• Improvements to the cleanliness and quality of Padnall Lake
• A safer approach to the central underpass
• Good quality open space with opportunities for play
• Cycle and pedestrian routes
• Community space for local residents

Opening the event alongside Cllr Darren Rodwell, the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, were local Councillor’s Simon Perry and Michael Pongo and Councillor Faruk Choudhury, the local Mayor.

Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said:

“It was great to see so many people turn up to see the lake officially open. The changes were much needed – having spent time in the area when I was younger, I can say this is a huge improvement and we’ve created a much more pleasant, safer, and enjoyable place for people to visit and spend time around.

“The lake, along with the wider Padnall Lake housing development, currently being built by Be First and our contractor J Murphy and Sons, has already created 57 new full-time jobs and two apprenticeships. This new housing development aims to build up to 260 high-quality, affordable council-owned homes.

“Working with Be First, we are improving local areas by creating jobs, building much needed housing and improving community spaces.”

Paul Hart, Contract Manager at J Murphy and Sons said:

“Construction work began in autumn 2021. Overgrown trees and vegetation were cut back, the banks of the lake were reinstated and repaired, we planted an array of new vegetation, improved footpaths, added picnic benches and a new dipping platform for the lake, installed litter bins,

“We’ve also put in bird houses and wildfowl fencing, Special plants have also been added for the likes of Coots and Moorhens, both seen on the lake at our open day event.

“We’ve had great feedback from those who attended the event, who were pleased to see the improvements we’ve made.”

There was so much positive feedback from local people who attended the event. Natalie from Marks Gate Relief Project (MGRP) said:

“The lake looks so much better and I thought it was an absolutely brilliant day. It was good to see so many people, particularly elderly people who you wouldn’t normally see walking about the estate.”

Maribel Mantecon, Senior Associate at HTA Design said:

“Following extensive community engagement and a thorough design process, I am very happy to see the transformation that Padnall Lake has undertaken and how it has become a wonderful area for neighbours to enjoy to its full and biodiversity to flourish.”