Construction of an independent cinema, affordable housing and a new facility for older people – has started.

The development by Lindhill Properties, will replace the former Abbey Sports Centre in Axe Street in Barking.

It includes 170 homes for rent, and will include one, two and three-bedroom residential flats, 60 at affordable rent.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “It’s great to see another exciting development get underway in Barking. 

“It will provide affordable homes for local people, a new base for Care City to improve health services for our elderly residents, and together with a new Independent Cinema, will be another  great addition to the borough.” 

Lee Fitzpatrick Managing Director of Lindhill Properties said: “Lindhill are very proud and excited that the redevelopment of the former sports centre has commenced. It will provide much needed high quality residential properties and become a new destination development that the people of Barking can enjoy.” 

David Harley, Head of Regeneration at Be First, Barking and Dagenham Council’s regeneration arm, said: “This is a fantastic new development for the local community and with the Independent Cinema, it will make a big contribution to making Barking a thriving town centre.”

Sam Neophytou of Arthouse Crouch End, which will operate the two screen Independent Cinema with creative workshop space said: “We want to create a cinema for all in our community, which inspires creativity and local engagement, celebrates Barking and Dagenham’s industrious past and looks forward in hope to its creative future.” 

Robert McDonnell, Residential Fund Manager, Aberdeen Standard Investments, who have funded the development said: “We are delighted the Build to Rent development has commenced and look forward to providing both private and affordable rental accommodation to residents in 2022.” 

The development is set to be finished by June 2022.