Feature: Exploring the future of Barking Riverside
PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 March 2017
Riding in a shuddering jeep over acres of uneven earth, it’s astonishing to think this former wasteland will soon be a neighbourhood the size of Windsor.
In a few weeks, what was once Barking Power Station will start to make way for a 10,800 home development as the extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground gets an expected thumbs-up.
Matt Carpen, project director for Barking Riverside Limited (BRL), compares the slow evolution of the new neighbourhood to Glastonbury.
“It’s embryonic,” he said.
“We have got 744 homes now, we have got thousands more to go. This has been a long time in the making, it will form part of a new piece of city that will be a destination in its own right with day and night-time economy.”
The green light to the 4km extension of the route from Barking Overground will unlock the planning permission already agreed for thousands more homes.
The final decision for the £263m project rests with Chris Grayling MP, secretary of state for transport, who is expected to sign off on the project by the end of the month – meaning construction on the rail route is likely to start early next year, and could be finished by 2021.
“We’re euphoric to be getting the railway,” added Matt. “For 10,000 people living here we need rail. The public enquiry (last October) means it looks like it’s going to be on the map.”
As we head across the 2km riverside site, it’s hard not to be infected by the dramatic setting and the team’s tangible enthusiasm of being on the brink of something brilliant.
“It’s so exciting, there’s so much going on,” explained Matt. “Four years ago there wasn’t a lot going on, it was a lot smaller. The vision now is 10,000 homes, a new community.”
Under the joint venture by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London and Quadrant housing association, about 600 homes are expected to be built a year up until 2030, with a targeted 35 per cent affordable housing promise under the proposed section 106 agreement.
Half-way through the first phase, with 414 more currently under construction, homes for the next phase will be coming to market in the spring of 2018.
As we speed across the dirt canvas, Matt points to the construction of a new road, due to open to the public in July. Next to it, three schools on the Thames Road campus – two are relocating there – will benefit from a new public transport link when the EL1 bus stops there later this year.
Seection 106 (s106) agreement
The proposed planning agreement is expected to be agreed within the next few weeks. It includes:
- A minimum of 35 per cent of all new homes will be affordable.
- Contribution to the improvement to the A13 Renwick Road junction and other local junctions.
- Creation of three additional primary schools above those already provided as well as land to contribute to a further secondary school.
- Provision of community hubs to accommodate community halls, health facilities and multi-faith centres.
- Measures to work with the council and the NHS to deliver local health facilities.
- Introduction of vacuum waste collection and measures to improve recycling and the efficient collection of waste.
- Ecological and landscape enhancement.
- Exploring the long term use of the river for transport.
- Energy efficiency.
In total, seven schools will serve the expanding population by 2030.
It will take another 13 years to for the neighbourhood to reach its full potential of a vibrant, riverside hub with plans to convey passengers to Woolwich by Thames Clippers.
“It’s such an exciting time to be in Barking and Dagenham right now,” he added.
“It’s not intended to be a single estate as such but part of a much bigger regeneration area of the borough. Seeing it through until the end will be really exciting.”
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