East London pupils ask drivers to make the Parkwise Pledge

Students from Becontree Heath schools are asking parents to switch off their engines if they have to drop off their children by car as part of a campaign to make the local environment cleaner and safer.

The schools and students are encouraging parents to make a ‘Parkwise Pledge’ to turn off idling engines, to be considerate about where and how they park, and also to make one trip on foot or by bike each week.

Alice Carroll, Deputy Head, at Grafton School, explains: “It would be fantastic if all of our pupils and staff could walk or cycle to school, but we know for some it is necessary to come by car. For these families, we are asking them to make the Parkwise Pledge. We hope it will create a safer, more pleasant environment for our pupils, their families, neighbouring residents, and all other road users.”

In addition to learning about the Parkwise Pledge, pupils at nearby Robert Clack Lower School participated in a street design workshop. This involved learning about different design models, observing collection time at their school and discussing possible ways forward. They also took part in the consultation on proposed changes to Tenterden Road, which many pupils felt is crowded and unsafe.

Year 8 student Emile Zubkute said: “It’s nice to see people working hard to make the school a safe place to be and an enjoyable environment.”

And, Angel Omoregie said: “The workshop was interesting because we could go out and speak to students coming out of school and ask them about their experience of traffic in the local area. The workshop was good because it explained everything and how the area will be improved.”

Victoria Spashett, Be First Project Manager for Becontree Heath Low Emission Neighbourhood, said: “Around 150 balloon’s worth of polluting gases are churned out a minute by idling engines. So, our message to drivers is simple – cut out the smoke – it makes us choke!”

During the morning peak, one in four cars on the road are on the school run and a YouGov poll in 2018 found that more than two-fifths of UK children in urban areas are concerned about air pollution near their school.

The Parkwise Pledge and walking and cycling promotion is part of the Greening the Fiddlers, Becontree Heath Low Emission Neighbourhood.

Work starts on truly affordable, energy secure homes

Building work has started on 63 new homes in one of the most affordable developments in London.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, who was at the site in Oxlow Lane in Dagenham, said: “It’s great to see work get underway on these new homes for local people.

“The rents will be among the lowest in London and with the new heating system, which will keep down energy costs, these homes will be among the most affordable in the capital.”

Rents for the new homes will start from around £160 a week for a one bedroom flat at today’s prices and they will be heated by an air source heat pump – meaning they will be gas free.

Cllr Rodwell said: “Due to a volatile political climate, gas prices are rising so it’s even more important now our homes are energy secure.”

The 63 homes will consist of 19 one bedroom, 29 two bedroom and 15 three bedroom flats. The development will be 100 percent affordable with 35 per cent on London Affordable Rent.

Jake Robson, Development Manager at Be First, said: “We are happy to start work on another development which will provide great, green and affordable homes for local people.”

John Moore, Mulalley Managing Director New Build said: “Mulalley is proud to be working on the Oxlow Lane project for Be First, delivering much needed high quality, sustainable affordable housing to meet local needs.”

Building work is currently scheduled to be finished by December 2023.

Pupil’s wild at art adorns hoardings

Artwork inspired by the environment and wildlife is now being displayed on hoardings surrounding a new housing development in Marks Gate.

The paintings and drawings by students from Rose Lane Primary school were created as part of a competition run by the council’s regeneration organisation, Be First, with help from Studio 3 Arts.

This week local councillors, Cllr Sade Bright and Cllr Simon Perry, visited the site where the work is now displayed to meet the young artists, Assistant Deputy Headteacher, Lara Marsh, and Elaine Tribley.

Cllr Perry said: “The children’s work is awesome and inspirational. It’s great to see young people getting involved and expressing their love of nature and their local environment through art.”

Beth Cross, Community Engagement Coordinator at Be First, said: “It’s so important to involve the local community and young people with what we’re trying to build here – a great place for all, with quality new homes for local people and an improved and more bio-diverse environment.”

Lara Marsh, said: “The history of Marks Gate has been long and varied. It started with a moated manor house surrounded by three small hamlets at the entrance to Hainault Forest and then blossomed and grew in the 1950s. Since then, the school has been at the heart of the community and this is still our role today.

“At Rose Lane we pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our curriculum ensuring that our pupils leave us engaged with the society they live in. The creative arts are a hugely important aspect and this project not only encouraged the children to express themselves through art but also developed their knowledge of the community they live in and added something beautiful for them, their families and their neighbours to look at.”

Rosie Ross, Senior Creative Producer at Studio 3 Arts, said: “Studio 3 Arts is delighted to have collaborated with the children from Rose Lane Primary. Their work celebrates the history and natural landscape of Padnall Lake which they developed in responses to artpacks compiled by artist Elaine Tribley during lockdown.

“It’s fantastic that the children can now see their ideas realised within this informative and colourful design and share it with their families and the wider Marks Gate community.”

The artwork is displayed on the hoardings which surround the new development at Marks Gate which will feature 81 quality new affordable homes for local people.

For more details go to https://yourcall.befirst.london/Marks-Gate

Artwork inspired by the local environment and wildlife by students from Rose Lane Primary school.
Picture by Ellie Hoskins

Garden style industrial development will be UK first

Construction of a ‘garden style’ industrial development got underway by the Thames this week.

Once completed, ‘Industria’ will be the first multi-storey light industrial development to be built in the UK and it will also feature two ‘living walls’, helping create a more sustainable space for industry to grow and develop.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, who helped kick off the building work in Thames Road, Barking, said: “Industria will host a huge range of makers and creators, all ready to generate a new industrial revolution down by the river, at the same time as providing hundreds of new jobs and opportunities for local people.”

Industria is supported by £1 million of the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), alongside Barking and Dagenham Council’s investment of £37 million.

Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, Jules Pipe, said: “The Mayor and I are determined to use the Good Growth Fund to challenge preconceptions about how regeneration takes place, which is why we are pleased to be supporting this new innovative, sustainable development that will provide hundreds of new jobs and opportunities for local people. Industria is a great example of positive collaboration between the public and private sectors and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on the community.”

The development will house tenants in flexible units arranged around a vehicle accessible multi-storey hub. The experience for visitors and neighbours will be enhanced by green walls, business lounge, lively shopfronts and a new local café.

Other key features include:
• Four storey core buildings arranged each side of the courtyard
• Flexible light industrial units from 1700-5200 sq. ft (160-475 sq. m) and flatted factory units from 140-2500 sq. ft (15-230 sq. m)
• Goods lifts and vehicle ramp with vehicle access across three floors
• Business centre, meeting rooms and staffed reception
• Fully glazed ground floor shop units with a cafe open to the public
• On-site parking and cycle parking
• Excellent BREEAM rating for sustainability and environmental impact
• Top quality landscaping
• An estimated 350-300 people employed on site

Lily Kwong, development manager at Be First, said: “Industria will be the first development of its kind built in the UK. It will be a beacon of sustainable industrial development, providing high-quality modern space which will enable business to thrive in Barking riverside.”

Patrick Murphy, Operations Director at McLaren said: “We look forward to working with Be First and the people of Barking and Dagenham to deliver an exceptional attractive and sustainable industrial development.”

Hugo Braddick of architects Haworth Tompkins said: “Industria’ is one of our most exciting projects; it responds to the new demand for sustainable industrial space at increased density. Using innovative spatial solutions and progressive green landscaping infrastructure it will create a multi-level working neighbourhood for 300 people within one building, with vehicle access to every floor.”

The building of Industria is expected to be completed by February 2023.

A minor miracle on Ketch Street

The latest milestone in the redevelopment of Barking’s Gascoigne neighbourhood was marked by a topping out ceremony last week.

The £56 million development alongside Ripple Road will provide 159 top quality affordable homes for local people, with rents as low as £159 a week for a one-bedroom flat at today’s prices.

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, said meeting this milestone on one of London’s largest redevelopments is a minor miracle.

Cllr Ashraf said: “With the massive challenges of Covid, Brexit and disrupted supply chains, it’s a minor miracle we’ve reached this landmark stage and I am delighted to see we’re making such good progress.

“Right now, one in five of all the homes being built by councils in London are built for local people in Barking and Dagenham and we expect nearly 900 new homes to be completed by May 2022.

“We’re delivering real regeneration for Barking and Dagenham.”

Cllr Ashraf was joined by Steve Kitchen of builders Willmott Dixon and Tom Mather, Construction Director at Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm.

Steve Kitchen, Director at Willmott Dixon, said: “We’re delighted to be celebrating the topping out of these four buildings which will soon become known as Shuckford Court, Flemming Court, Leleu Court and Mather Court.

“We’re very proud to celebrate this milestone having started this particular building during a global pandemic and all the challenges that has brought us all. It will be one of London’s most sustainable places to live and, in line with Willmott Dixon’s Now or Never 2030 strategy, we’ve worked hard during construction to ensure that sustainability is at the heart of everything we do.”

Tom Mather, Construction Director at Be First, said: “It’s no secret the construction industry has faced some major supply chain issues caused by a combination of Covid, the economic recovery and Brexit, so we’re really chuffed to see our contractor Willmott Dixon meet this major milestone in one the largest regeneration projects in London.

“While we will still face major challenges next year, we will keep on battling to deliver quality affordable homes for local people.”

Once completed this phase of the redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood will deliver hundreds of the most affordable homes in the capital and one of London’s greenest, most sustainable places to live.

It includes a range of sustainable features, with a targeted 40 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from energy produced by the homes. The development includes an array of rooftop photovoltaic cells and a connection to the local district heating system. There are also over 1,000 cycle parking spaces.

The development is part of a wider strategy to which will deliver attractive public spaces including a 5,000 square metre public park filled with striking designs and a new climbing wall.

Mural magic shines a light on Barking’s heritage

Barking’s stunning new heritage mural – on the wall of McDonalds on Short Blue Place – was brought to life in a magical light show on the evening of Wednesday 24 November.

Bertie Sampson, Creative Technologist at Immersive-me, animated the mural using lights, giving the appearance that the elements of Jake Attewell’s work are moving.

Crafts, face-painting, gingerbread, and hot drinks were also available throughout the evening of the show at Short Blue Place.

Simone Panayi, Community Engagement Officer at Be First, said “The animation of this beautiful mural celebrated Barking’s heritage in a very special way.

“It was an opportunity for residents to engage with the past and watch it come to life in front of their very eyes, as if by magic. It’ll be a real head-turner and the perfect family Winter outing.”

The mural was painted by Jake Attewell and commissioned by the council’s regeneration company, Be First, with National Lottery Heritage funding to remind the residents of Barking’s incredible heritage.

Pictured above are from left to right: Mural artist Jake Attewell; Deputy Leader of the council, Councillor Saima Ashraf; Leader of the Council, Darren Rodwell; Selina Papa from the project funders the National Lottery Heritage Fund; and Simone Panayi.

You can see the mural come to life here.

Ten days to go to get involved on local plan

Residents have got ten days to take one last look at its final draft of the Local Plan this autumn, as public consultation on 28 November.

The Local Plan is a vitally important planning tool that sets out where and what kind of development will be encouraged in Barking and Dagenham between now and 2037.

Consultation started at the end of 2019 and hundreds of comments and suggestions have been received and considered before the final draft was published last month.

Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet member for Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “I cannot stress enough how important the Local Plan is – it will help to determine the scale, pace and quality of development that takes place in the borough over the next 20 years and sets out how we will ensure that local people really feel the benefit.

“We’ve strengthened this plan very significantly since the last draft, in response to the hundreds of comments and suggestions we’ve received. So, I must thank everybody that responded, but ask them to take a final look before we submit the final draft at the end of the autumn.”

Every local planning authority is legally required to have a Local Plan which sets out where the council expects growth to occur and what kinds of growth it will support. It is a technical document but it is used by planners to determine whether investors, developers and builders’ plans are permissible.

The draft plan will be submitted to an independent planning inspector for examination by the New Year but the final public consultation will run from 11 October to until 28 November.

The draft is available online https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/local-plan-review and in every library in the borough.

Gascoigne pupils’ art unveiled

Local school pupils’ artwork, celebrating the past, present and future of the Gascoigne neighbourhood in Barking, is being displayed on hoardings surrounding redevelopment sites.

The art by students from Gascoigne Primary School was created as part of the ‘Gascoigne Your Place’ competition run by Be First during the first lockdown in 2020.

This week local councillors, Cllr Cameron Geddes, Cabinet Member Regeneration and Economic Development; Cllr Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement; and Cllr Abdul Aziz, visited the site and met competition winner, six-year old Rithvi Reddy Vaddepally, and staff from Gascoigne Primary School.

Rithvi’s parents, Harika Vaddepally and Ramchander Reddy Vaddepally, said: “Rithvi was exited to participate in the competition and she was really surprised to win. Thank you for giving her the opportunity to be part of this competition and for encouraging the kids.”

Cllr Ashraf said: “It’s fantastic to see this artwork – it’s a testament to the love, passion and engagement local youngsters have for their neighbourhood.”
The art competition was run by Be First who are delivering the redevelopment of Gascoigne on behalf of Barking and Dagenham Council.

Gascoigne Primary School students were asked to create a piece of art or write some words about their neighbourhood.

For the Early Years category, entrants were asked to draw or paint a picture of a place that they liked in their neighbourhood on their way to school.

For Key Stage 1, entrants had to draw a map of their journey to school highlighting interesting new buildings, places, streets, trees and playgrounds. Key Stage 2 entrants were asked to make a drawing and write a few sentences describing how their neighbourhood is changing due to the current construction and how they would like it to improve.

Ben Addison, Construction Manager at Be First, said: “The community is at the heart of what we do at Be First so it’s great to give local young people a chance to contribute as we work to make the new Gascoigne neighbourhood one of the most liveable places in London. It’s about hearts and minds as well as bricks and mortar – it’s what we call real regeneration.”

Powerful message rings true 100 years on

Artwork with a powerful message adorns hoardings surrounding an affordable development in Becontree thanks to local young people.

The message – “Bricks make houses – People make homes” – is emblazoned across a stretch of hoardings at the new Woodward Road development, which will deliver 56 quality, new homes.

The artwork was designed and made by young people from Barking and Dagenham’s Youth Forum with help from local artists Ben Martin and Griffi, alongside Studio 3 Arts.

Councillor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Community Leadership and Engagement, who met the young people and artists this week at the site, said: “This is such a powerful and poignant message as we celebrate 100 years of the Becontree estate this year, a development which set the standard of homes for working people. And 100 years on we’re still delivering great homes for ordinary people in Barking and Dagenham.”

Zubin Burley, Deputy Chair of the BAD Youth forum, said: “As Deputy Chair of the BAD Youth Forum, I am proud to see our messages of both diversity and unity brought to light to be seen by all. I hope that this acts as an emblem to convey to the community that young people care and show interest for the future of our area. Through hours of planning, painting and of course rain, we collectively enjoyed the process and cannot wait to see these houses become homes.”

Rosie Ross, Senior Creative Producer at Studio 3 Art, said: “Studio 3 Arts have a long- standing relationship making outstanding art with the people of Barking and Dagenham. We are delighted to support the young people from the BAD Forum, their artwork makes a bold and confident statement that brightens up the local area.”

The artwork is part of a wider project involving Be First, Studio 3 Arts, schools, groups and artists who are working on a series of artworks that will be displayed on hoardings of development sites across the borough. The designs will celebrate the history, heritage and the future of the area.

Sadia Ur-Rehman, Community Engagement Coordinator at Be First, said: “At Be First, we firmly believe real regeneration is not just about houses but building great places too, and we know art is also at the heart of vibrant communities.”
To find out more about these artworks and the wider project of artworks across the borough, visit:
Art on Hoardings | Your Call Be First London

Planning in Barking and Dagenham is getting digi with it

Householder planning applications are going digital as part of a drive by Be First to make the planning process more accessible and transparent.

Thanks to a successful bid to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities PropTech Engagement Fund, over £100,000 will be ploughed into digital tools to improve public engagement in the planning process.

The digital roll out will include:

• Development of an app to digitalise householder applications, creating 3D visualisation of the development proposal which will be stored as a video experience on the planning portal; and,
• Creation of QR codes on application notices to provide the public with easier access to planning application information.

Caroline Harper, Chief Planning Director for Be First said: “This is truly an exciting project. It can be really challenging to imagine how a householder extension might look based on technical drawings and descriptive words. We want to make this easier by using technology to create 3D images of what is being proposed. PlanTech is happening and we in Barking and Dagenham have so many ideas as to how we use it, so that the people living and working in the Borough are able to more easily engage with the planning and development process.”

The project runs from now until March, after which Be First hopes to be able to roll out a working app. Watch out for further press releases as we will be looking for people to help us in the testing and development phases.