What sort of development should be allowed in Barking and Dagenham over the next few years and where should it take place?

These are some of the key questions the council is encouraging residents to help answer as it launches its consultation on the Local Plan.

Every borough is legally required to have a Local Plan which sets out where the council expects growth to occur and what kinds of growth it will support.

It is a technical document but vitally important for the borough since it is used by planners to determine whether investors, developers and builders’ plans are permissible.

Caroline Harper, Chief Planner for Be First, the company drafting the Local Plan for the Council explains: “The council is obliged to plan to accommodate growth and our ambition is to do this in a way that will benefit local residents.

“For example, we want to be sure the right sort of housing is available for our young people.  And, we want to attract new businesses that will generate good jobs for local people. The Local Plan guides those who want to invest in our community to deliver what the community has said it wants between now and 2034.”

A draft of the Local Plan for Barking and Dagenham is now available and the Council is calling for residents to give their views on it. It is available online and copies are also available in the borough libraries and at the Town Hall.

“The Local Plan talks about lots of key policy issues,” adds Harper, “such as how we protect and enhance the environment, and how we encourage residents to live more active, healthier and more sustainable lives.  These issues are vitally important for the borough, so residents’ views and suggestions are really important.”

The consultation runs until the 29 February and is the first stage of a wider public consultation on growth and regeneration in the borough. In the New Year the council will be consulting residents of Barking and Dagenham on how they see their local neighbourhoods changing and just what strategy we should adopt on growth and regeneration.