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Building work starts at old Abbey Sports Centre site in Barking

PUBLISHED: 07:21 07 August 2020

L-R David Harley, Robert McDonnell, Cllr Rodwell, Lee Fitzpatrick and Sam Neophytou. Picture: Andrew Baker

L-R David Harley, Robert McDonnell, Cllr Rodwell, Lee Fitzpatrick and Sam Neophytou. Picture: Andrew Baker

Archant

Building work on a cinema, homes and a new facility for older people has started.

An artist's impression of how the former Abbey Leisure centre might look. Picture: LindhillAn artist's impression of how the former Abbey Leisure centre might look. Picture: Lindhill

The development by Lindhill Properties will replace the old Abbey Sports Centre in Axe Street, Barking.

It includes 170 homes for rent, including one, two and three-bedroom flats, 60 of which are expected to be offered at affordable rent.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “It’s great to see another exciting development get under way in Barking.

“It will provide affordable homes for local people, a new base for Care City to improve health services for our elderly residents, and together with a new Independent Cinema, will be another great addition to the borough.”

Another impression of how the redevelopment could look. Picture: LindhillAnother impression of how the redevelopment could look. Picture: Lindhill

Care City is a company which develops carers’ skills. It is based in Linton Road.

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Abbey Sports Centre, which opened in 1986, was replaced with the £14m Abbey Leisure Centre in Bobby Moore Way in 2014.

The plan to demolish the old leisure centre and redevelop the site was approved by the council’s planning committee in December 2018.

The old Abbey Sports Centre is being turned into flats. Picture: Melissa PageThe old Abbey Sports Centre is being turned into flats. Picture: Melissa Page

Lee Fitzpatrick managing director of Lindhill Properties, said: “It will provide much needed high quality residential properties and become a new destination development that the people of Barking can enjoy.”

David Harley, head of regeneration at Be First, the town hall’s regeneration arm, said: “This is a fantastic new development for the community and with the Independent Cinema, it will make a big contribution to making Barking a thriving town centre.”

The two screen cinema includes a creative workshop area. It will be operated by Arthouse Crouch End, whose Sam Neophytou said: “We want to create a cinema for all in our community, which inspires creativity and engagement, celebrates Barking and Dagenham’s industrious past and looks forward in hope to its creative future.”

City firm Aberdeen Standard Investments has funded the development to the tune of £50million. Robert McDonnell, residential fund manager, said: “We look forward to providing both private and affordable rental accommodation to residents in 2022.”

The former Abbey Sports Centre. Picture: Valence HouseThe former Abbey Sports Centre. Picture: Valence House

The development is due to be finished in June of that year.


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