Be First, the urban regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council, celebrated the start of construction on part of the third phase of Gascoigne East at Gascoigne Neighbourhood with a groundbreaking ceremony held with contractor Wates Group.

The latest phase at Gascoigne Neighbourhood – one of London’s largest regeneration projects – will deliver 334 high-quality new homes with half at discount market rent (where the rents are discounted by 20% of open market rent) and half at affordable rent (Affordable Rent is subject to rent controls that require a rent of no more than 80% of the local market rent).

The groundbreaking event for this £148m valued phase involved representatives from Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council, and Wates’ Residential business – the contractor for Gascoigne East. Homes are expected to be completed in 2026.

This development will also include new children’s play areas, a small park (which is set to be expanded in later phases) and public spaces connecting pedestrian and public transport links. This is set to complement the range of amenities provided across the wider Gascoigne East development, including a 5,000 sqm park.

Homes across the whole of Gascoigne Neighbourhood are connected to a district heating system and have been designed with energy efficiency in mind, ultimately providing a 40% CO2 emissions reduction against building regulations. On top of this, all phases of the Gascoigne Neighbourhood are adopting an active travel development strategy, meaning pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised which promotes sustainable travel and enhances a sense of community.

Gascoigne Neighbourhood focuses on placemaking, affordability, and providing community amenities to create a neighbourhood, not just a home. Homes have been designed to be tenure blind to promote inclusivity while providing safer, healthier, and sustainable homes.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “It’s great to see this latest phase of construction commence at Gascoigne Neighbourhood – this development encapsulates why Barking and Dagenham is one of the major regeneration players in London.

“This latest milestone signifies our commitment to delivering safe, warm, environmentally friendly and affordable homes for people despite the tough economic climate.”

Tim Porter, Delivery Director at Be First, said: “We’re thrilled to begin construction on these new homes and community facilities at Gascoigne East. When completed, over 1,700 homes will have been delivered across the Gascoigne Neighbourhood since we began the regeneration project.

“The transformation of the neighbourhood focuses on placemaking, affordability, and sustainability, which is why the provision of large new green spaces, below market rent options, and helping residents reduce their carbon emissions and energy bills has been core to the delivery of Gascoigne Neighbourhood.”

Tim Wates, Chairman of Wates, said: “The regeneration of the Gascoigne Estate is something very close to the hearts of the Wates family. That’s because of the commitment that we share to not only build great energy-efficient, high quality affordable homes that people deserve, but to build communities that can flourish. The greater access to amenities, and the social and economic benefits of our Social Value programme, has led and will lead to local jobs and skills training across the area, and thriving social enterprises.

“Great relationships such as the one we have with Barking and Dagenham Council and Be First, prove that a shared vision can make possible a wonderful living environment with safe, healthy spaces that will be enjoyed by residents for generations to come.”

Since being established in 2017, Be First has delivered 1,400 affordable homes to date, developing the most housing completions by a Council-owned developer in 2022, with another 1,500 currently being constructed.