Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration company, Be First, will build even more council homes in the borough over the next five years than previously projected.

The extra homes, detailed in its 2019 business plan, will mean Be First will build 3,088 council homes by 2024 – 880 more than the original target set by the council when the company was established in 2017. Around three quarters of them will be affordable.

Iain Ferguson, Be First’s Commercial Director, said: “We’re accelerating a number of projects to build nearly nine hundred more homes for the council than originally projected.  It’s ambitious but entirely achievable.”

Several big schemes will start this year and will deliver 1,233 new homes, including new council owned homes at Gascoigne East, and the former Sebastian Court and Crown House sites.

Iain said: “We expect to deliver a cash surplus to the council at the end of this year, and we are on track to deliver £49 million towards council services over the next five years, which will help pay for essential services the Government no longer funds.”

The plan also sets out how Be First will encourage the private sector to deliver 6,800 new homes over the next five years, on top of the new 3,088 Be First-built homes.

Be First will require all developers to ensure at least 25 per cent of their workforce on their schemes are local people and that private developers deliver as much affordable housing as possible.

Iain said: “Be First is wholly owned by the council and exists to build homes for the Council at speed and to encourage the private sector to improve their delivery as well.

“Any surplus we make goes back to the council. So we are the ultimate social enterprise which makes this business plan great news for the people of Barking and Dagenham.”