As more big high street brands disappear from our high streets like Wilko and The Body Shop, we made a visit to Barking town centre to see what it has to offer shoppers. 

Whilst we were there on February 29, we asked shoppers what they make of the health of the high street.

There was a considerable number of people in the town centre at around 4.15pm, with a particular bustle surrounding the Barking Markets in East Street. 

One shopper, Kanwel Ashfaq, wants to see more food options in Barking. She said: "Well, the high street I think should have more choices to eat to be honest.

"There should be more restaurants here just like Burger King and stuff but we need to go far away to get it.

"Fast food, any food because we don’t have many choices and more shops are going to be closed because of recession so I want more shops that we’re at least able to enjoy.

“It’s quite expensive (to travel) you know. It’s like if it’s something we can get here, why are we spending more money for travel and stuff?"

We also spoke with Spencer, who works on a flower stall about what he thinks Barking is missing. 

Barking and Dagenham Post: It was a rainy day when we went to BarkingIt was a rainy day when we went to Barking (Image: Olivia Carter)

Spencer said: "Better shops. Round here it ain’t a place you could spend a day at shopping.

"Like whereas Romford you can go shopping, or Ilford, or Lakeside and that you could spend half a day out there couldn’t you? Round here you go to about one shop and that’s it, you're done."

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We asked Spencer what he'd like to see come to the high street, to which he said: “HMV, a Smyths toy shop for the kids. What you get on the market, you can’t call them toys. You’re better off with a toy shop, something for the kids."

After moving on from the markets, we discovered at least five shops permanently closed, all within a short walk of each other. 

There were also a large number of shops with the shutters down despite the number of shoppers around. 

One shop we came across was Flavorz Wine Bar & Restaurant along Longbridge Road. 

Barking and Dagenham Post: Flavorz Wine Bar & Restaurant sits emptyFlavorz Wine Bar & Restaurant sits empty (Image: Olivia Carter)

The Indian catering and banquet space appears to have been closed for at least two years despite it neighbouring a local pub, The Spotted Dog. 

The next shop we discovered to be closed was a charity shop. Barnardo's in Ripple Road had their shutters down and a quick search on Google confirmed it is permanently closed. 

From a past timeline on Google Maps, it appears the charity shop first closed in 2020 and has sat empty since. 

We spoke with Sana, a mother, who said: “There should be something in them. I think maybe some of the bigger clothing brands, there should be some of those here as well.

Barking and Dagenham Post: The closed Barnardo's shop in Ripple RoadThe closed Barnardo's shop in Ripple Road (Image: Olivia Carter)

"Asda (in Barking) is big you know when you come for the groceries and stuff like that, but the Tesco is a lot smaller. They should be bigger so we don’t have to go away to Romford or the Goodmayes site."

Barking and Dagenham Post: U-Turn sits just over the road from Barnardo's U-Turn sits just over the road from Barnardo's (Image: Olivia Carter)

Just over the road from Barnardo's was another shop that has permanently closed, U-Turn beauty salon. 

The salon is another example of a shop which appears to have sat closed and empty for several years and remains that way now. 

Peacocks and the Kings Bull in East Street are also large premises in the area that remain closed, taking up significant space on the high street.