Cllr Darren Rodwell in the cab, Pat-Hayes, Josh Daniels and Adrian Fennessey on the demolition site

Demolition is now underway on the west side of the Gascoigne Estate, making way for the delivery of more than 200 new homes in Barking over the next two years.

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell and Managing Director of Be First Pat Hayes joined together with Wates Residential Operations Director, Adrian Fennessy and construction site representatives on Friday to view progress at the site on Abbey Road and celebrate the significant step forward for the scheme.

The £55 million project will see part of the 1960s estate redeveloped into a modern, environmentally friendly community, including 201 new homes, of which 60 per cent will be affordable, with rents starting from £137 a week (2020 prices). The plans include 89 one-bedroom, 88 two-bedroom and 24 three-bedroom homes, while a new children’s play area will also be built to provide open space for local people to enjoy.

Mindful of the environment, the designs include plans to install electric car charging points and more than 360 new bicycle parking spaces. The new homes will also contribute to a 40 per cent reduction in carbon emissions thanks to a connection to the forthcoming Barking Town Centre District Heating Network and the installation of solar panels.

Building work is expected to be completed in spring 2022.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Barking and Dagenham Council Leader, said: “It’s a great start to the New Year – we’re now making visible headway in rebuilding a better, greener Gascoigne estate. It illustrates our determination to build top quality, affordable homes for local people not just in this part of Barking but across the entire borough.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “We’re starting 2020 with a resolution to dramatically increase the rate at which we build new affordable homes for local people, and the redevelopment of this part of the Gascoigne estate is just one of 15 projects we expect to get off the ground this year.”

 Paul Nicholls, Managing Director for Wates Residential, said: “We’re delighted to have begun the first stage of demolition on this exciting flagship project, delivering more than 200 homes for people in Barking.

“Together with our partners, we will deliver new high-quality homes and create a lasting legacy for the whole community through our investment in education, skills and training because we believe that everyone deserves a great place to live.”

The Gascoigne Estate West project is being delivered by national developer Wates Residential after it won a place on the pioneering Be First Development Framework last year.

As part of the project, Wates Residential will increase investment in education, training and skills opportunities, delivering a borough-wide legacy.

Commitments include recruiting a minimum of 20% of local work force and addressing the skills shortage with a wider education programme that will run through local schools.

Wates Residential will also promote job vacancies to those who currently face barriers to employment, in addition to providing work experience placements and careers advice sessions, and a number of apprenticeships in key traditional areas including bricklaying, and carpentry, as well as in business administration.