Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering regeneration company, has secured its interim Development Director on a permanent basis.

Ed Skeates, who joined the east London company last summer, said Barking and Dagenham offered unrivalled opportunities for growth in London.

He said: “This was always going to be an exciting role as the borough has the critical ingredients of ambition, geography and economics.

“My initial intention was just to stay for the early phase but now that I am able to see, and have been able to help construct, the architecture of this business, I can’t think of anywhere else that offers this amount of potential.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “Securing Ed’s services is vital to our drive to step up the pace of development and deliver inclusive regeneration in Barking and Dagenham.

“We have come a long way since we officially started business in October and Ed has played a major part in our success, leading our work to select a film studio partner and directing our property acquisition and investment portfolio.

“But we are not standing still, and we will shortly be searching for more talent like Ed to join us.”