Local elections 2014: We find out what matters to drinkers in Barking’s Spotted Dog

Stephen Smoczynski wants to see Barking and Dagenham maintain its working-class identity (pic: Ellie

Stephen Smoczynski wants to see Barking and Dagenham maintain its working-class identity (pic: Ellie Hoskins) - Credit: Archant

Having a political debate over a pint down the pub is a British tradition.

Stephen Smoczynski wants to see Barking and Dagenham maintain its working-class identity (pic: Ellie

Stephen Smoczynski wants to see Barking and Dagenham maintain its working-class identity (pic: Ellie Hoskins) - Credit: Archant

So where better to chat to local residents about the upcoming elections than one of the borough’s taverns?

Stephen Smoczynski wants to see Barking and Dagenham maintain its working-class identity (pic: Ellie

Stephen Smoczynski wants to see Barking and Dagenham maintain its working-class identity (pic: Ellie Hoskins) - Credit: Archant

The Post popped into the Spotted Dog in Barking to see what issues mattered to the borough’s drinkers.

And before you could say “same again, please,” a whole range of topics had been covered, from parking and immigration, to waste disposal and regeneration.

Pat and Bob, neither of whom wanted to give their surnames, believe immigration is the key issue for any would-be councillor.

Bob said: “I’ve always been brought up to vote Labour but for the first time in my life I’ll be voting Ukip next month.

“I think the immigration situation in Barking has gone too far. The area’s overcrowded which is causing a whole lot of other issues.” Pat added: “The council has just announced its 10-year housing qualification [as reported in last week’s Post] but it’s too little too late for me - the horse has already bolted.”

Most Read

Not everyone at the Spotted Dog was critical of the borough’s current state though. Some, like freelance journalist Stephen Smoczynski, from Chadwell Heath, would support candidates maintaining the area’s identity.

“Barking and Dagenham’s the only genuine East End borough that has stuck to its working-class roots,” he said. “I’d like to see the same attitude over the coming years.”

Delivery driver Michael O’Neil, 50, believes they council should address a lack of parking.

“I want to see something done about the parking situation in Barking,” he said.

“I appreciate there’s only so much that can be done - you can’t just spring car parking spaces up from thin air - but there’s nowhere to make deliveries for the shops opposite the station.

“If the lorries do stop to make a delivery, they’re fined.”

Retired security worker David Parker and former antique jeweller Nick Gadsby were also complimentary of council services.

David said: “The area’s not perfect, but nowhere is.

“I get my green waste bins collected free. I’ve got friends who live elsewhere who have to pay for it, so there are definite advantage to living in this borough.”

Post room operative Joe Blythe, 68, believes crime is the key issue.

“There are always gangs hanging around in the town centre, and it’s dangerous for young ladies coming home from Barking station,” he said.

“I’d hope whoever makes up the council after the elections does something about it.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter