An east London pocket park co-designed by local residents is set to open in Barking next month.

The pop-up Phoenix Park will open on 1 June for residents of the Gascoigne neighbourhood which is currently being redeveloped.

The new pocket park is a result of a grassroots project involving Gascoigne Residents’ Forum, Be First, engagement specialist Urban Symbiotics, landscape architects Fabrik, and construction firm Wates Residential.

It has also been chosen to be part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture.

Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Darren Rodwell, said: “I understand Phoenix Park in Dublin is one of Europe’s largest. Well, Barking’s Phoenix Park maybe one of Europe’s smallest but it’s big on heart thanks to its fantastic community involvement.”

Peter Murray, Be First board member and New London Architecture curator said: “BeFirst is delivering lots of new homes for the borough but is also focusing on great spaces between the buildings that people can enjoy. This is a fantastic inclusive project which has produced a great pocket park at the heart of a pioneering redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood.”

Sadia Ur-Rehman, Community Engagement Coordinator at Be First said: “Residents were at the core of this collaborative creation. The park will be a great place for the community to enjoy this Summer.”

Ayesha Riaz of the Gascoigne Residents’ Forum said: “It was fabulous to work on the pocket park and especially now we’re coming out of lockdown as I met so many people from the forum I hadn’t met before. This is what this park is all about – bringing people together.”

Adrian Fennessy, Operations Director for Wates Residential said: “To us, construction is more than just building, it’s also a chance for us to positively impact the communities where we operate. As a contractor of Be First, it’s a pleasure for the Wates Residential team to work in collaboration with all the key partners and most importantly the Gascoigne Residents Forum to create this space, it has been an experience that Wates Residential and its supply chain have been proud to be part of.

“This park demonstrates great social value, right from the co-design, the hours that residents have volunteered and the donations of time and materials from the Wates supply chain, for example the storage unit, the gym tyres and much more.”

The park is designed around four themes identified by local residents; exercise, play, growing and contemplation. These are brought together at the heart through a stage, which can be used for gatherings, events, communal dining, games and more.

The park includes: a natural play area, a gym corner, a seating and stage area for a space to relax in, a garden area, a large feasting table and a growing plot.

As part of the park launch, there will also be an exciting programme of events including:
• An open exhibition with display boards available throughout all of June.
• An online panel discussion as part of the London Festival of Architecture, on 9 June from 6 to 7.30pm involving residents, Be First, Fabrik, Urban Symbiotics and Wates Residential.
• Phoenix Park Launch Festival on Saturday 26 June, 12 – 4pm – Gascoigne residents are invited to celebrate the new pop-up pocket park with an afternoon of family friendly fun for everyone.

See here to book or find out more.