Outrage as yet more flats planned for former Barking Magistrates’ Court

A general view of the former Barking Magistrates Court

A general view of the former Barking Magistrates Court - Credit: Vickie Flores

Plans to change the ground floor usage of the former Barking Magistrates’ Court from a restaurant space into flats have been dubbed “completely inappropriate”.

Two years ago developers gained permission to turn the Grade II listed, East Street site into 13 flats and a restaurant, but no one has taken on the running of the eatery.

Now architects BB Partnership are trying to convert the empty ground floor space and basement into three flats.

“They’ve obviously had difficulty in finding suitable tenants and so they want to have flats there as well,” said Tony Richards, 78, who has lived in Barking since 1964.

“There are a lot of places selling junk food, but we could do with a really nice, decent restaurant with a range of foods to suit a range of religions,” said the Wilmington Gardens resident.

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There was considerable opposition to the original application in 2013, when plans for a six-storey extension building with retail floor space and 24 flats above provoked outrage from residents as well as heritage campaigners at the Victorian Society.

Mr Richards also opposed the loss of original features that the first application would have entailed, but was reconciled to the second amended one that was approved.

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The latest submission for changed useage and listed consent, though, is the final straw for the retired law lecturer.

“It’s completely inappropriate, the applicants should not be permitted to depart from the authorised use,” he said.

“Suitable tenants can almost certainly be found if the applicants will curb their greed so that the lease and the rent reserved by it are such as to make a restaurant a viable proposition.”

At the time of print, the developers had not yet returned our request for a comment. Visit lbbd.gov.uk to search the two applications.

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