Local elections 2014: Courting the grey vote in Barking and Dagenham

Florence King (left), 88, and Muriel Baker, 87

Florence King (left), 88, and Muriel Baker, 87 - Credit: Archant

Over the last few decades Barking and Dagenham has seen its population change and grow drastically.

With some of the lowest house prices in London and within striking distance of the city, it has become an attractive destination for migrant workers and young Brits looking to take advantage of available job opportunities.

For many of the borough’s elderly, who have witnessed these changes first hand, there’s a yearning to restore a sense of community and a desire to go back to the old days.

Muriel Baker, 87, of Sandringham Road, Barking, said: “A lot needs to be done down in Barking town. It is a disgrace to me the way it is like a concrete jungle down there now.

“Barking used to be a nice little town, now there is virtually nothing.”

She added: “It would just be nice to get back to the way things used to be,” but said she was still unsure about voting for the UK Independence Party.

President of the Dagenham Dames Women’s Institute, Jeanette Montgomery, 69, of Gorebrook Road, said: “People are really disappointed about the state the borough is in.

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“I don’t think the council is sticking by the community. It is closing down community halls for a start and look at the state of the high street.”

Florence King, 88, of Lodge Avenue, Barking, said: “I think there are too many foreigners in the borough to start with. If you go in Barking you don’t hear many English voices.

She added: “Instead of looking out at more flats it would be nice to look out at some green. They said they weren’t going to build anymore high-rise flats but they are building them again.”