Council secures £1.4m to protect Barking’s historic town centre

Barking and Dagenham cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Cameron Geddes outside St Margaret's Churc

Barking and Dagenham cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Cameron Geddes outside St Margaret's Church, Barking. - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham Council has been handed a million-pound grant to protect historical buildings across Barking town centre.

The initial £1.4m Townscape Heritage (TH) cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be used to improve the appearance and profile of the Abbey and Barking Town Centre Conservation area, increase awareness of the borough’s historical assets and ensure heritage plays a key part of the town’s ongoing regeneration.

Development funding of £101,400 has also been awarded to help the council apply for a full grant at a later date, working in partnership with St Margaret’s Church, Barking and Dagenham College’s Technical Skills Academy and other key town centre players.

The conservation area stretches from Station Parade, by Barking Station, to the town quay on the River Roding, where the famous Short Blue fishing fleet helped Barking flourish into a major fishing point by the mid-19th century.

Also included are Barking Abbey, dating back to 666AD and once home to William the Conqueror, and Grade II-listed St Margaret’s Church, where the explorer Captain James Cook was married in December 1762.

Students from the academy will have a lead role in the design and delivery of the building improvements, and the project will develop guidelines for local businesses to maintain their high street buildings once the scheme is completed.

The borough’s largest high street, East Street, is also in the conservation area and features a number of prominent Victorian and Edwardian locally-listed buildings.

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Cllr Cameron Geddes, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Cabinet colleagues and I are thrilled and extremely grateful for the award.

“The generosity will be a catalyst to supporting our ambition to regenerate and revitalise the town centre as we strive towards establishing it as the cultural capital of east London.”