A tour of Fresh Wharf, Barking's new 911-home development
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 25 November 2019
Work is well under way in transforming 10 acres of former industrial land into 911 new homes. The Post paid a visit to the Fresh Wharf construction site, on the edge of the River Roding, to see how the project was coming along.
The first phase of the development, which involves 532 homes, is expected to be completed in the autumn of next year.
The whole development - featuring one and two-bedroom flats, and three-bedroom townhouses, is due to be finished by 2026.
Some are available for private ownership while others will be rented out through housing associations such as Notting Hill Housing, Folio and Sigma.
Homes have been on sale for a month, and Stacey Mitchell, Countryside's director of sales and marketing, was pleased with the level of interest.
"Most people so far are from Barking and Dagenham or other parts of east London," she said, demonstrating a digital display that allowed prospective homeowners to see both the inside and the view from each individual flat.
It was, we were told, roughly an even split between people who wanted a view over London and those who wanted a view over Barking and the River Roding.
And while the development's proximity to the North Circular may be an advantage for commuters, soundproofing has had to take place to ensure the busy road does not disrupt people in their homes.
"There is an acoustic fence between us and the North Circular," Rob Wilkinson, managing director for east London, explained. "None of the balconies face directly onto the road, either."
Viewing the showroom provided a chance to understand how the soundproofing worked, as well as see how the flats were designed.
Each one opens straight into a combined kitchen and living area, with no corridor connecting the rooms.
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Instead, there are doors into the bedrooms, bathroom and cupboard areas - with the two-bedroom flats also boasting an additional en-suite bathroom. Ten per cent of the homes are designed to be wheelchair adaptable.
Work began on the site in March 2018, with some of the towers - ranging in height from three to 16 storeys - beginning to take shape.
"A lot of infrastructure work has to be done first," explained Tony Shopland, senior construction manager. "Only fairly recently we've started coming out of the ground."
As we walked around the site, he pointed out the energy centre, which will be used to power the whole development once it opens as well as during the construction process.
There are around 350 employees currently on site, using lights to be able to work until around 6pm on weekdays even in the winter months.
"We don't want to be working Saturdays," Tony explained.
At the moment, the specialist nature of the work means only "20 or 30" people on site are from east London, but that number is due to change as the construction process develops.
"We think 20 per cent of people working on this site will be from the local area," Rob said.
From the fifth floor of one of the buildings, he pointed out where the park and landscaped areas are set to be, as well as the main road through the development, which will be on a bus route.
Fresh Wharf is also set to feature shops, cafes and restaurants, and has space to park 206 vehicles.
Work is also underway to make the River Roding part of the development, with moorings reinstated to provide spaces for houseboats. Reed beds are being put in along the edge of the Roding, and a riverside footpath will eventually run the whole length of the Fresh Wharf site.
"This is what makes this development a little different from others," Rob said. "On a nice summer's day it will be fantastic."
Prices at Fresh Wharf start at £308,000 for a one-bedroom flat. For more information, visit freshwharf-barking.co.uk