Food hub and Barking town manager among proposals agreed in 10 year regeneration plan
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 October 2020
A 10 year strategy to regenerate Barking town centre has been agreed by councillors.
The scheme will involve the creation of a town manager role, who will assist with the co-ordination of council activities as well as interact with businesses, in addition to making physical improvements to the area.
Cllr Cameron Geddes emphasised the need for a long-term plan, telling the virtual cabinet meeting: “Without a strategy, we’re just going to have various individual applications coming in without any links together.
“I think if you look at the town centre you realise probably that’s what’s gone wrong in the past.”
A report, issued ahead of the meeting on Tuesday, October 20, outlined three key areas the council wanted to work on by 2030.
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These include the creation of a food hub, to be linked to the wholesale markets proposed to occupy the former Barking Reach power plant site, as well as improve the first impression Barking station gives of the town and intervene to bring forward the first phase of the Vicarage Field redevelopment.
Cllr Geddes said the food hub was largely dependent on the City of London Corporation’s market proposal going through but added that the situation was “looking good”.
He added: “Clearly if we’ve got those three markets coming into the borough, we’d look to have facilities close to where the markets are being located near Dagenham Dock, but there’s a real possibility of having a food hub and doing something for Barking town centre.”
Cllr Evelyn Carpenter said that she was “enormously excited” by the plans, adding: “I think we’re going to see a massive uplift to Barking town centre as a result of all this work.”
Cllr Margaret Mullane described the creation of a town manager for Barking as a “win”, saying that it would help move the area on “in the direction that we want”.
Outlining the need for the policy to be flexible, Cllr Geddes said: “When we started off with it I think we were aware that the growth of internet shopping was going to be substantial, but on the other hand we were also aware that there was going to be more residential properties in the town centre including people with disposable income.
“Then we had a once in a century pandemic and you are left wondering what’s going to be left in five years, 10 years’ time in many ways.”
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