Tenants of a brand new ‘old east end style’ bungalow development met Barking and Dagenham Council leader, Councillor Darren Rodwell, this week as he viewed a pioneering council home swap scheme.

Mr Rodwell went to see how Josephine Rudd and her neighbours Pauline Branch and Brenda Lowe were settling in to their new homes in Burbridge Close, Dagenham.

Josephine, who moved into her new bungalow last month, said: “It’s fantastic here. This place reminds me of an apartment in Greece I went to on holiday.

“It’s been great making new friends with my neighbours too – we get on so well.”

Councillor Darren Rodwell said: “It’s great to meet Josephine, Pauline and Brenda and nice to see them settling in so well.

“I am very impressed with the design of the bungalows and the Close reminds me of an old-style east end street.

“The way the tenants can open their doors to chat to their neighbours opposite is fantastic. I think it helps creates a really neighbourly environment.”

Josephine and her neighbours moved in to their new homes through Barking and Dagenham Council’s home swap scheme which enables older and disabled residents to move to purpose-built homes, while releasing larger, under-occupied housing for local families.

Iain Ferguson, Commercial Director of Be First, which built the six new bungalows for the council, said: “This project epitomises the Be First approach. This is about building quality homes, on time and to budget and developing great communities. The bungalows were designed to create a neighbourly environment.”

Pete Barber, of designers Peter Barber Architects, visited the development last week, and said: “It was terrific to pay a visit to Burbridge Close and to meet the tenants who are making their homes there.

“It’s clear that people are making friends already. It was a sunny day and the little Close was full of flowers in pots, colourful deck chairs, whirly gigs and cheerful chat, just as we’d hoped.”