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Becontree street redesign project DIY Porter's Lodge finishes

PUBLISHED: 13:35 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:35 27 January 2015

Phillippa Banister with local councillors and pupils at Roding Primary School.

Phillippa Banister with local councillors and pupils at Roding Primary School.

Archant

A community-led street redesign project transforming the Becontree estate has reached its end after two years of consulting, planning and building.

Antoinette Nvula and Tia Marie with new street furniture outside their school.Antoinette Nvula and Tia Marie with new street furniture outside their school.

Delivered by sustainable transport charity Sustrans in partnership with Barking and Dagenham Council, “DIY Porter’s Lodge” has set about creating a safer and more attractive neighbourhood, by improving a number of junctions and road crossings.

Focused on the area south of Porters Avenue and north of Becontree station, and between Parsloes and Mayesbrook parks, the project was named after the historic Porter’s Lodge farm that once occupied the land.

Among the areas that have undergone transformation include the section of Cannington Road outside Roding Primary School where globe bollards, designed by pupils, have been installed to help reduce parking congestion and a provide safer crossing zone.

Year 6 Shayan Khan, 10, said: “It’s been a really fun using our imaginations to make the road a better place.

Shop fronts have been given a makeover.Shop fronts have been given a makeover.

“The bollards have made it easier to cross and walk to school.”

Alison Camp, Every Child Matters coordinator at the school, added: “The pupils have been really involved in everything, from coming up with the original ideas to designing the bollards.

“It’s much safer for them now, encouraging more kids to cycle to school.”

Special parking bays have also been created outside the parade of shops in Porters Avenue, just down from the junction with Lodge Avenue, putting an end to pavement parking and creating a nicer environment for pedestrians and shopkeepers.

The redesigned area at the Porters Avenue junction with Lodge Avenue.The redesigned area at the Porters Avenue junction with Lodge Avenue.

At the junction of Gale Street and Rugby Road, bollards have been strategically placed to make sure cars are unable to cut corners, protecting pedestrians, while the width of the road itself has actually decreased.

Project coordinator Phillippa Banister, 29, led the scheme from the off, working with the public to find out what exactly was wanted from those living and working in the area.

“It’s been a real privilege to be involved in something that has really not just paid lip service to community involvement, but has been centred around it,” she told the Post. “Everything we’ve done has been as a result of what people said. It’s been an amazing journey and I’ve really enjoyed working with the school and getting to know so many people in the area.”

Mayesbrook ward councillor Adegboyega Oluwole said: “The project has really brought the community together, young and old, and transformed the local area. We’re all really grateful to Phillippa for the work she’s done here.”

But the project isn’t leaving the borough just yet, with the launch of a similar regeneration scheme already planned in Marks Gate. An announcement is expected next month.

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