A futuristic vision for a Barking town centre for aspirational Londoners was launched today (14 March) by Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s pioneering urban regeneration company.

The concepts designed by architects Weston Williamson + Partners were unveiled at MIPIM Cannes to an audience of investors, developers and city planners. The centrepiece is a major new development built above a revamped Barking station

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “The skyline suggests a mini-Manhattan.

“But the new look town centre will not be a playground for the rich – it must deliver truly affordable homes and a range of great leisure and retail facilities for ordinary Londoners.”

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First said: “We’re raising the bar for development here in Barking and Dagenham, so our vision is deliberately ambitious, designed to ignite interest among investors, and excitement among local people. It is a starting point but the end point we’re seeking is a brilliant new town centre which will serve the people of Barking and east London.”

Bea Young, Associate Partner at Weston Williamson + Partners said: “This vision realises a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate Barking town centre through the transformation of the station and by improving connectivity between neighbourhoods.

“We have been working with Be First on an ambitious masterplan and architectural concept, which celebrates the richness of Barking, enhances its character and puts the integration of people and places at the heart of the design.”

With the station building at its heart, the proposed scheme would deliver 2,200 new homes, together with commercial and social infrastructure, knitted together by two hectares of clean, green, accessible open spaces. The station itself will retain its Grade II listed canopy which is based on Rome’s Termini.

The masterplan includes significant over-track development – creating a series of urban quarters linked by a reinvigorated high street which will serve as an urban and cultural magnet, linking the existing civic centre and town squares.

And a new green spine, parallel to the high street, will connect public spaces and provide an improved retail offer.

The new street layout in a loose grid looks to build urban quarters complemented by green courtyard spaces, echoing the layout of exemplary town centres in London.

“And by retaining the Roman style station, Barking would have a brilliant blend of the big apple and the eternal city!”, Councillor Rodwell added.

More information.