Barking and Dagenham businesses fearful over A13 proposals

The view up the A13

The view up the A13 - Credit: Archant

A collection of businesses along the A13 are becoming increasingly concerned for their future with uncertainty surrounding plans to take the busy road underground.

The view up the A13

The view up the A13 - Credit: Archant

Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced plans to tunnel the A13 for a mile between Lodge Avenue and Gale Street in February 2014, something Barking and Dagenham Council has been lobbying for since then.

A presentation delivered by Alex Williams, Transport for London’s director of borough planning, shows plans for a 1.3km three-lane dual carriageway south of the existing road which would go through the Rippleside commercial estate – home to a large number of businesses.

“If it goes ahead we’ll have to be moved out,” said Sominda Panesa, 59, who owns printing firm Prontaprint Barking. “If we go too far out we’ll lose business, so where are we going to go?

“That’s what we want to know.

The view up the A13

The view up the A13 - Credit: Archant

“It’s a great location here, right on the A13 – turn left for London or right for Essex – and people stuck in the traffic see us so we get the passing trade.

“Nowhere else in the borough has all those benefits.”

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Some companies on the estate received unaddressed consultation leaflets from the council in January, although a number of firms were missed out.

Steve Hodge, who owns heat exchange and radiator specialist Allcool, says his morning commute from Marks Gate takes him more than hour because of the daily congestion.

“Something needs to be done, but no one seems to care about the businesses on this estate,” he said.

“I’ve worked here for 14 years but if they go ahead there’s nothing we can do.”

A council spokesman confirmed that unaddressed questionnaires had been delivered to businesses in areas the borough will rezone from industrial to residential areas, under the council’s Local Plan.

“We know from experience that posting doesn’t work as not all businesses operate from a bona fide address,” he said.

“This is why we employed a company to distribute the questionnaires personally rather than rely on inaccurate addresses.

“We will only rezone the industrial land affected by the tunnel if the tunnel gets the go- ahead.

“We will also need to convince the next Mayor of London that this is a project worth pursuing – at the moment it remains a proposal.”