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