East London council continues proud tradition

East London council continues proud tradition

Barking and Dagenham is still building ‘exceptional ‘homes for ordinary people said Cllr Sade Bright this week after she viewed 19 new affordable homes on the iconic Becontree Estate this week.

The cabinet member for employment, skills and aspiration, said: “Around 100 years ago the first bricks were laid to build homes for heroes on the Becontree Estate.

“And this week we celebrate the building of more quality, council owned homes for a new generation of Londoners.

“It shows Barking and Dagenham is continuing its proud tradition of building exceptional homes for everyday people.”

The new development, 200 Becontree Avenue, was designed by Archio and features two villas comprising 19 homes which are in keeping with the style of the Becontree Estate. The homes are set to be completed this month and ready for tenants to move in later this spring.

Sarah Beth Riley, Associate Architect at Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm said: “200 Becontree Avenue is an exemplar scheme which sensitively responds to its surroundings and is the result of our inclusive approach of working with the local community to build on the proud legacy of the Becontree Estate.”

Peter Murray OBE, board member at Be First and Curator-in-Chief of New London Architecture (NLA), said: “The council and Be First have ensured people are at the heart of this development with its sensitive design and spacious landscaping.

“It upholds Barking and Dagenham’s noble tradition of building great, affordable homes for working people as well as commissioning the best designers to deliver them.”

Kyle Buchanan, Director at Archio said: “These buildings are the product of detailed research and stakeholder engagement. We wanted to produce homes that people would feel proud to live in, while also tapping into the overall pride felt for the estate.

“Becontree represents some of the best and most ambitious house building ever undertaken by the LCC and it’s been an honour to be a part of this new initiative by Barking and Dagenham Council to rekindle that spirit for the area.”

The development includes 13 one-bedroom, four two-bedroom, two three-bedroom flats and a community space plus a ‘playstreet’ runs alongside the homes linking to a nursery.

Home is where the art is – and it’s in the heart of Barking

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of the Council, met up with a new tenant of Barking’s unique ‘A House for Artists’ today (Monday 14 March).

Cllr Rodwell met local photographer Jimmy Lee who is set to move into his new apartment in the Grayson Perry backed arts development.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to meet Jimmy, a hugely talented local photographer who I am glad to see is settling in so well in this brilliant House for Artists.”

Jimmy said: “I am really happy to finally be moving into this superb development, it is personally really important to me as I was born and bred here and work with a lot of the community.

“Not only has it helped me stay in the borough close to my parents, but it will also enable me to produce art with local residents that reflects a borough bursting with local talent, culture and attitude through all generations that live here.

“And hopefully the east end art from this house will inspire more working-class people like myself from this borough and beyond to express themselves and get creative.”

A House for Artists is the only development of its type in the country. It features 12 apartments at subsidised rent for artists and features ground floor studio space for the artists to work with the local community, initially in partnership with Create London.

It forms part of Barking and Dagenham Council’s plans to support home-grown talent and to attract artists and craftspeople to the borough, and has been supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who has invested £690,000 towards the project.

Cllr Rodwell said: “The House for Artists is not only great for creatives but also for the wider community who will be able to access educational projects provided by artists living there.

“It’s also part of our drive to make Barking and Dagenham a creative powerhouse in London – we already have Eastbrook Studios in Dagenham on the way and also The Wharf Studios alongside a vibrant arts community along the banks of the River Roding.

“So, it’s a case of move over Hoxton, Hackney or Berlin – it’s Barking and Dagenham where the art’s at.”

A House for Artists is commissioned by Create London and funded by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) and the Mayor of London, and delivered by Be First (working on behalf of LBBD).

Countryside and L&Q complete partnership deal with Barking and Dagenham Council to speed up housing delivery on Beam Park

Leading mixed-tenure developer Countryside and leading housing association L&Q have completed the sale of 936 homes at Beam Park to Barking and Dagenham Council, in a deal which will be crucial in accelerating much-needed housing delivery on their 72-acre regeneration of a former Ford manufacturing plant in east London.
In one of the largest bulk housing acquisitions made by a local authority, Barking and Dagenham Council will acquire 936 homes in three future phases of Beam Park, of which 50% will be affordable housing and 50% market rental homes.
The agreement creates an exciting new partnership at Beam Park, a joint venture between Countryside and L&Q which is successfully transforming the derelict site of a former Ford manufacturing plant into a new and vibrant destination, in partnership with landowner the Mayor of London.
Beam Park is one of only three regeneration schemes in London delivering at least 3,000 homes and providing 50% high quality affordable housing (including shared ownership, London Living Rent and London Affordable rent homes) to meet the need of local communities. The first two phases of the development are well underway, with 1,154 homes currently under construction of which 235 homes are now completed.
When fully complete Beam Park will have extensive facilities including two schools, retail spaces, a gym, a nursery, a multi-faith centre and two state-of-the-art energy centres. 44% of the development has been allocated for publicly accessible green space, which includes a 3.5-hectare central park in the heart of the development with the River Beam running through it.
Kevin Delve, Managing Director, East London, Partnerships South, Countryside, said: “Through working in effective partnerships Countryside aims to create places people love and new affordable homes that provide opportunities for today’s society. This partnership with Barking and Dagenham Council enables us to accelerate the delivery of new homes, helping to meet the demand for high-quality housing in the borough. The first phases of Beam Park have already been transformed from a former Ford factory into a thriving new community, and we are looking forward to repeating this success on future phases.”
Kevin Harris, Director of Project Management and Development at L&Q said: “We’re delighted to welcome Barking and Dagenham Council to Beam Park – an important deal which will accelerate the delivery of much needed new homes at one of East London’s most exciting emerging neighbourhoods. We’ve enjoyed an excellent relationship with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham over the years, and we’re looking forward to extending our partnership with this deal.”
Ed Skeates, Development Director at Be First, which helped broker the deal, said: “The Beam Park project will transform this part of London and is so large it straddles two boroughs.
“So far all the works have been in Havering and with this deal we have been able to accelerate the project significantly and will now see the development start in Barking and Dagenham on a major scale.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This is a great deal which will see nearly a thousand homes for local people, half of which will be affordable, built on this former Ford site.
“It’s part of a massive shift in gear in the regeneration of Dagenham which will also be home to London’s largest film studios, two huge data centres and the groundbreaking UCL Pearl building.

“No longer will Dagenham be famous for Ford and factories but also film, technology and great homes for everyday people.”

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, Tom Copley, said: “We are delighted to be working with Barking and Dagenham Council to help bring forward much needed homes for Londoners, 50 per cent of which will be affordable. Beam Park will be a thriving new neighbourhood for Dagenham, providing high-quality green spaces, schools, retail and community facilities.”

East London innovation taking off by the river

Building work at an innovative industrial and residential development in Barking is beginning to take off.

And to see how work is progressing at the site on Thames Road this week was leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see buildings beginning to take shape in what will be a fantastic industrial and residential development which will deliver 156 affordable homes and great opportunities for local people and entrepreneurs.

“It’s quite apt that the new development is being built just yards away from where the UK’s first aircraft factory was built – it shows once again that a new era of industrial innovation is beginning to take off in Barking and Dagenham.”

Cllr Rodwell earlier met Carl Adams of builders McLaren and James Molloy of groundworks and reinforced concrete frame contractor Corbyn Construction at their factory by the River Roding, less than 500 metres away from the development on Thames Road.

Corbyn is currently supplying McLaren with the precast concrete columns which are installed at the development.

Cllr Rodwell said: “I am very impressed that locally made concrete is being used on the development at Thames Road. It keeps wealth in the local economy by employing local companies to create homes and new businesses – it’s a completion of a virtuous circle.”

McLaren Construction is also building Crown House for Be First. Project director Carl Adams comments, “McLaren is proud to be working on two of the most prominent new landmarks in Barking and to be involving local businesses and people wherever possible. We have kept these ambitious public sector projects on track regardless of the pandemic and serious cost inflation, making sure that Be First’s vision for reinventing this site is realised on schedule.”
Quote from James.

Ben Green, Senior Development Manager at Be First said: “Utilising Barking’s excellent local supply chain during construction has been a long-term ambition for Be First, as it boosts the local economy and reduces emissions due to shorter delivery distances.

“Mixing employment and residential uses has presented design challenges to the project team, and we are proud of the innovative solutions we have used in the scheme being delivered for the benefit of local residents and businesses.”

The development at 12 Thames Road will include 156 homes, including 77 homes at London Affordable Rent and 79 homes 80 per cent below market rate, and 50,000sqft of new modern employment floorspace.

Local school celebrates history of Gascoigne neighbourhood with time capsule burial

A time capsule celebrating the past, present and future of the Gascoigne neighbourhood in Barking has been buried by Gascoigne Primary School and members of the local community following an art project led by Wates Residential, alongside Boathouse Studios and Art Collective, with over 120 pupils contributing.

More than 40 people including Jennie Coombs, Head of Affordable Housing at Be First, and Councillors Dominic Twomey and Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leaders of Barking and Dagenham Council, joined students, teachers and Wates at an event to mark the burial and showcase the items chosen to go into the capsule.

27 pupils from Gascoigne Primary School helped to bury the time capsule, and the location has been shared with the local library. Submissions included artwork, objects, photographs, letters, poems and audio recordings, with pupils and residents from the neighbouring area speaking about the items they had chosen, reflecting on why they were special to them and why they would be important for future generations. Jean, a local resident who has lived on the estate for 74 years and previously acted as Chair of the Tenants Association, said to the children as she placed her letter into the capsule: “Remember how lucky you are, this is all for you. But also remember, community is not about one person, it’s about all of us.”

The school has been working with the Boathouse Studios and Art Collective to create the submissions which were centred around the theme ‘My Dream Barking’. Some children wrote about their dreams for a fair, welcoming society in the borough, while others drew pictures of their dream homes surrounded green spaces and wildlife, with one pupil Maryam saying she hoped to live in one of the new homes on the estate in future. The artworks not included in the capsule will decorate the hoardings near Hardwicke Street, so that the local community can continue to appreciate the work.

Part of Wates Group, one of the UK’s leading construction, property services and residential development companies, Wates Residential was appointed by Be First in 2019 to regenerate the west side of the former 1960s estate, which will drastically increase the number of new homes available for local people. Phase One of the west side of the Gascoigne redevelopment will see 200 homes delivered and is due to be completed in April this year. The second phase, which was awarded to Wates in April 2021, will see a further 386 much-needed homes built.

The scheme promises to not only deliver crucial housing, but also wider benefits for local people. As part of the project has Wates made a commitment to the borough to recruit a minimum of 20% local workforce, create at least 20 new jobs for local people and address the construction industry skills shortage with an education programme that will run throughout local primary and secondary schools, as well as colleges.

Last year, Wates launched a set of ‘Top Trumps’ style playing cards with Greatfields School, in Barking, to help explain the wide variety of roles available in construction and to encourage more young people into the industry.

Adrian Fennessy, Operations Director at Wates Residential, said:

“The Gascoigne West development is a flagship project that promises to create a lasting legacy for the Barking community. The burying of the time capsule was a moment to reflect on the site’s history, and at the same time look forward to a better, greener estate. Not only will the development see top quality, affordable homes built for local people, our investment in education, skills and training is also creating opportunities for residents who currently face barriers to employment.”

Councillor Dominic Twomey, Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said:

“This is a really wonderful project which preserves our young people’s memories for decades to come. The future of the new Gascoigne is bright with great new homes built to last for today’s, tomorrow’s and many generations to come.”

Jade Davidson, Teacher at Gascoigne Primary School, said:

“The time capsule event provides a wonderful opportunity for our pupils at Gascoigne Primary School to share their aspirational ideas and vision about their ideal future for Barking. This is linked to our Learning Mission ‘Developing an understanding of Fairness and Equality’. The event will enable our pupils to finish the topic with an encapsulating and memorable experience in their learning, leaving a piece of themselves in history and a mark for our future generations’.

East London borough gears up for BikeFest

Youngsters from Barking and Dagenham Cycling Club met professional cyclists from the AWOL O’Shea and Brother UK – LDN cycling teams today, together with Councillor Syed Ghani, of Barking and Dagenham Council, to announce a festival of cycling and sustainability in May, incorporating the UK’s leading gender equal cycling races.

The races will be the only London round of the televised Tour Series event and will form part of a wider Barking BikeFest, which will take place around the historic Abbey Green on 21 May.

Barking will host the series in the year that the event will start alternating between staging the men’s and women’s races first and second on the schedule. Additionally, both events will take place over the same one hour and five lap distance, with the series continuing to offer equal prize pots for the winners. Winners of the women’s race will receive the Mary Wollstonecraft Cup after the pioneering feminist who once lived in the borough.

Cllr Ghani, Barking and Dagenham Council’s Cabinet member for Public Realm, said: “BikeFest is going to be a fantastic free event for all the family. Not only will it be a wonderful celebration of cycling and sustainability but also of equality.

“It’s fitting Barking is to host a gender equal cycling event as I believe our borough is the birthplace of feminism in the UK. From Mary Wollstonecraft, who lived here, to the Dagenham Ford women strikers, this borough has always fought hard for fairness and equality.”

Mick Bennett, Tour Series race director, said: “I know cycling fans have been clamouring for the Tour Series to return to London, so I hope they start making plans to come to Barking on Saturday 21 May! We’re excited to be a part of the first-ever BikeFest, which promises to be a fantastic community event, and I can only thank everybody involved behind-the-scenes for all of their efforts so far. You won’t want to miss this – it’s going to be great!”

Russell Coe, Secretary of Barking and Dagenham Cycling Club, said: “It’s brilliant that Barking is hosting the London round of the Tour Series in 2022 and opening up and promoting cycling in the community by hosting BikeFest – it’s a bold and visionary move from the council and Be First.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, Barking and Dagenham’s regeneration arm, which is helping to organise BikeFest, said: “We’re really looking forward to the BikeFest which will have top class racing and will be a wonderful community event to celebrate and promote cycling, healthy living and green sustainable travel.”

The Barking BikeFest will run from 11am to 9pm and will also include:

• Community BikeFest – mass participation events on the race-course for local people
• The Green Village – community fun and entertainment on Abbey Green
• Electric Avenue- showcasing green travel technology

Further information on timings of the day’s events will follow.

We’re making it happen in Barking and Dagenham

Building work started today on the latest phase of one of London’s largest regeneration developments.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, visited the site to meet staff, recruited locally, who are now working for contractors Willmott Dixon.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see work start on more affordable homes for local people. And it’s fantastic to meet so many local people helping to build the new Gascoigne neighbourhood.

“It’s a great example of the scale and pace of work that our regeneration organisation, Be First, is achieving – delivering more affordable homes and creating opportunities. Together we’re really making it happen.”

Muhammed Irbaz Ali, who is from Dagenham and is an Apprentice Document Controller at Willmott Dixon, said: “To be able to be directly involved in the regeneration of my local area, knowing that it will positively impact current and future generations, is something I’m incredibly proud to be a part of.”

The ground-breaking ceremony coincided with the publication by Be First of their progress report, called Making it Happen, which provides details of its work building new homes and creating jobs in the local economy.

Cllr Rodwell was also joined by Chris Tredget, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon and Lord Kerslake, Chairman of Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm.

Lord Kerslake said: “Be First has made great strides since it was set up in late 2017. We are delivering hundreds of homes for local people with thousands more in the pipeline. And through our development programme nearly a thousand local people are employed in helping to build a better borough. It’s clear, we’re really making it happen in Barking and Dagenham.”

Chris Tredget of Willmott Dixon said: “We are delighted to start work on the next phase at Gascoigne East, providing a further 124 high quality homes for the people of Barking. Sustainability is at the heart of this project and we’re looking forward to continuing to work closely with the local community.”

Tom Mather said: “The new homes on this site are part of our main mission to accelerate growth and deliver real regeneration. We’re well on our way to complete nearly 10,000 homes within ten years.”

The homes consist of 32 one bedroom, 50 two-bedroom, 36 three-bedroom and six four-bedroom flats with rents starting from £168 a week at today’s prices (2022/23).

Building work is set to be finished in the Autumn of 2023.

To view a short video on Be First’s progress report click here or to read the report click here

Barking gateway development deal sealed

An agreement to build 198 homes for local people at the gateway to Barking has been finalised this week.

Railpen, the investment manager for the £35bn Railways Pension Scheme, has announced it has entered into a funding deal with real estate specialists Revenue + Capital and developer Fifth Capital for the development of a 28 storey, 198 build -to-rent and affordable housing apartments at Trocoll House in Barking.

The site originally received planning consent in 2017 for 198 homes without any affordable homes.

However, following intervention from Be First, the Council’s regeneration organisation and Revenue + Capital, new proposals including 35 per cent affordable homes were presented to Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee in 2019 which received consent.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This agreement means a tired, tatty old building will be replaced providing nearly 200 new homes for local people.

“This development, alongside a restored and improved station, will create a great new gateway to Barking. It’s further evidence of the council’s commitment to revitalising Barking town centre, while also ensuring homes and opportunities for residents of the borough.”

Marc Pennick, CEO of Fifth Capital, commented: “Fifth Capital are excited to be working on such a key regeneration project in Barking. The development with revolutionise the local area and provide high quality housing for the borough. We look forward to continue working with Barking and Dagenham Council and delivering this scheme”

Richard Walsh, Founder of Revenue + Capital, added: “It is great to be part of such a transformative development for the town centre and one which would not have been possible without the collaborative approach shown between the teams at R+C, Railpen, Barking and Dagenham and Fifth Capital. With construction due to start this year and an expected completion of 2025, this is going to help Barking and Dagenham realise its vision of regenerating the area around Barking station.”

Julian Allport, Investment Manager at Railpen, commented: “We are pleased to have agreed this deal with Fifth Capital for the development of Trocoll House. The build to rent sector has been resilient throughout the pandemic, delivering strong investment returns. We look forward to being a long-term partner of Barking and Dagenham Council.”

The restoration of Barking Station will keep its Grade 2 listed canopy which is based on Roma Termini station in Rome.

The redevelopment of Trocoll House will see current occupiers, Wetherspoons, vacate while Henry Construction completes the Farrells designed tower. The pub chain will return to take a new commercial unit below the 198 new apartments.

Work on the site, which was negotiated with Network Rail is due to start by Easter 2022 and will take two years to complete.

On completion, the entire building will be leased by Barking and Dagenham Council for 50 years and the freehold acquired for £1.

The deal was negotiated by Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s wholly owned regeneration company, which pulled the deal together with other parties.

Ed Skeates, Development Director at Be First said: “This site is directly adjacent to Barking Station and the new building will transform the experience of people coming into and out of the town centre and will also be an amazingly convenient and vibrant place to live for our residents.”

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.