Field of dreams for Barking town centre

John Phillips A LANDMARK 22-storey tower block could be built alongside Vicarage Field shopping centre as part of a �100million retail and housing complex. The proposed development, the biggest in the centre s 19-year history, will see 174 flats built opposite Barking

John Phillips

A LANDMARK 22-storey tower block could be built alongside Vicarage Field shopping centre as part of a �100million retail and housing complex.

The proposed development, the biggest in the centre's 19-year history, will see 174 flats built opposite Barking Station and retail space increase by 2,527 sq m in a bid to attract big names.

Shopping centre boss Simon Green hailed the regeneration plans, which will also include 80 new homes and green spaces.


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St Awdry's Walk at the side of the mall, previously a magnet for antisocial behaviour, is to be covered and integrated into the centre.

Mr Green said: "The development costs will certainly be in excess of �100million.

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"We have been fine-tuning since the opening, particularly in relation to the centre upper level. But in terms of major works and building, this is the first big development. I think it's great for the centre and for the town in general."

The general manager at the Ripple Road centre hopes the plans will be referred to the planning authorities later this month. There is as yet no timescale for construction.

In March, the Recorder reported how plans to build a supermarket in North Street, Barking, might challenge Vicarage Field's Asda store. But Mr Green suggested another supermarket would not be needed as Tesco prepared to open a Metro store in Ripple Road, in addition to its larger supermarket in Highbridge Road.

Mr Green said: "There is already some provision with Asda. Our view would be there is adequate convenience retail in the town. We would like to see more retail in the town, high street retailers."

Roadworks Are Killing Trade: See this week's Recorder

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