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Council's regeneration firm appoints 25-strong panel of experts

PUBLISHED: 17:00 03 July 2019

Members of Be First's quality review panel visit the Gascoigne estate. Picture: BE FIRST

Members of Be First's quality review panel visit the Gascoigne estate. Picture: BE FIRST

Archant

The council's regeneration firm has appointed a team of architects, environmental experts and town planners to act as 'design champions' for the borough.

A total of 25 professionals have been appointed to a quality review panel for Barking and Dagenham where an estimated 50,000 new homes are expected to be delivered in the next 20 years.

The panel will act independently to planners and developers, with regeneration company, Be First, saying the move will ensure the highest standards of design across new developments.

Caroline Harper, Be First's chief planner, said: "We're determined to deliver the highest possible standards of design in every new development and, at the same time, we want to retain and promote the distinctiveness and architectural character of the borough.

"So, I am delighted to announce the appointment of this talented and vastly experienced group of experts."

The panel members are responsible for ensuring new developments maintain existing standards and reflect the borough's architectural heritage.

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They are paid about £200 per review job which is covered by developers. The appointments mean the borough meets a City Hall requirement for major applications to be reviewed.

Neil Deely, the newly appointed chair of the panel, said: "I'm really excited to have been invited to take on this important role. It couldn't be a more exciting time to work in Barking and Dagenham as their ambition as a borough is awe-inspiring.

"I'm fully committed to making sure that as a panel, we deliver top quality, sustainable developments that encourage thriving communities."

Deborah Denner, director of frame projects, who were commissioned to select and support the panel, said: "Barking and Dagenham has many award-winning developments that have been completed in recent years.

"From the town centre to the Thames riverside, there are plenty of examples of successful regeneration projects, creating a high quality of life for local people.

"These schemes help set a high bar for development in the area, and the panel's role is to help ensure new proposals meet a similarly high standard."

The first meeting of the panel on Thursday included a visit to the Gascoigne estate, where a selection of members began the process of examining the latest plans for the western side of the estate.

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