Boost of £180k for Barking town centre growth
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 January 2016
The council is set to spend up to £180,000 securing a site it claims is central to regeneration in the borough.
It aims to improve the site, which is bordered by Clockhouse Avenue, Broadway, East Street and Grove Place, by taking control from private retailers and putting in the hands of the council as part of the £42.3million Barking Housing Zone scheme.
Buying up the site will give the council control over how the area looks, following criticism that parts of the town centre appear outdated.
The council believes taking control of the site will help secure Barking’s reputation as a cultural hub.
A council spokesman said: “A Housing Zone for Barking will enable faster delivery of new housing to complement existing culture and leisure provision in the town centre while continuing to deliver awardwinning high-quality development and public realm.
“We are also developing our cultural offering and Barking is being increasingly recognised as the new hub for the creative arts in east London.”
Although the council is already the freehold owner of most of the site the spending, which was approved last month, will give it control over the buildings currently used by Wilkinsons, Natwest and Peacocks.
The council hopes to update the outdated frontage in East Street, and the “negative frontage” on Clockhouse Avenue to Barking Town Hall.
On behalf of the council, multinational bank BNP Paribas evaluated the site.
The bank’s appraisal raised the the possibility of a development with ground floor commercial space and 167 apartments at the site.
Any redevelopment at the site would be subject to a public consultation, but the council believes the area could bring “substantial regeneration benefits” including improved shopping and new homes.
The Barking Housing Zone comprises nine schemes, including a site at Gascoigne East, where the council plans to put 190 units that include council-owned homes.
And a site at North Street is set to let properties at 50 per cent of the market rate, with a Greater London Authority grant of £24,000 for each unit.