Barking to become ‘cultural capital’ with art house cinema

An artist's impression of the new development

An artist's impression of the new development - Credit: Archant

A redevelopment being hailed as a “cultural milestone” will bring 147 private flats and a three-screen art house cinema to Barking.

Property specialist Lindhill aims to begin redeveloping the old Abbey Sports Centre site in summer 2016, and is also planning a floor of office space and three commercial units for restaurants.

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell said the Axe Street project, which will cost about £50million, is a significant boost to the future “cultural capital” of east London.

“The scheme will complement other developments in the Town Square, Broadway Theatre and Creative Industries Quarter,” he said. “It represents a significant investment and will contribute toward our longer term aspirations of a vibrant evening economy in the town centre.

“With more cultural festivals throughout the summer and as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations, Barking town centre is starting to deliver on our ambition to be the cultural capital of east London.”

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The cinema will be at the development’s centre, and the office space is expected to become the home of Care City, a hub for health innovation set up by North East London NHS Foundation Trust and the council.

The chief executive of NELFT, John Brouder, said the regeneration would attract new investment for the borough.

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“We are delighted to be working in partnership with the council on the Axe Street development,” he said. The development will regenerate the area, and will help attract new investmenr, particularly in the areas of business, technology, education and health.”

Lindhill’s Gary Fitzpatrick said he is excited about the project, which the council believes will be integral to Barking’s “creative quarter”.

“We are excited to be involved in the regeneration of Barking Town Centre and are confident that this mixed-use, high-quality landmark development will enhance and complement the growing requirement for the borough’s aspirations,” he said.

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