Barking Riverside school opens

Plans to create a 10,000-home development in Barking reached a new milestone this week with the opening of its landmark primary school.

The Barking Riverside school has been named after George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury and one of Barking and Dagenham’s most famous sons.

The unveiling of the 700-place CoE school off Thames Road, Barking, near the river, is to be followed by the opening of a secondary school, perhaps as early as 2015.

George Carey School headteacher, Chris Harrison, said: “Being part of creating a brand new school at the centre of a new and developing community is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is an honour to have been selected for this post and my aim is to repay this trust by delivering an outstanding place of learning.”

The �270,000 primary school is part of a new urban hub within the Barking Riverside development, hailed by Barking and Dagenham Council as “one of the most ambitious and important projects in the UK”.

But the completion of the �2billion project – led by developer Bellway – was thrown into doubt in 2008 when Mayor Boris Johnson axed the �750million DLR extension between Beckton, Barking Riverside and Dagenham Docks.

An agreement between Barking and Dagenham Council and developers Barking Riverside Ltd means that no more than 4,000 homes can be built without a transport link.

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The Barking Riverside hub, known as the Rivergate Centre, will also comprise of a church, health facilities, space for social enterprise and perhaps shops.

Work has started on the first 350 homes, which should be ready by Christmas. A total of 10,800 are to be built in the next two decades.

Education cabinet member Cllr Rocky Gill said: “I would like to welcome Chris Harrison to his role and wish his staff and pupils all the best at their new school. I’m sure that together they will make it a huge success.”

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