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Barking and Dagenham Council planning to buy former Muller plot

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 February 2020

The council wants to buy Muller's former site in Selina Lane. Picture: Google

The council wants to buy Muller's former site in Selina Lane. Picture: Google

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The council is planning to purchase the former Muller factory site for an undisclosed sum.

Barking and Dagenham Council's cabinet chiefs agreed to buy the 13 acre plot in Selinas Lane, Chadwell Heath, at a meeting on Monday, February 17.

The local authority plans to borrow in order to take over what is now an industrial site, turning it into a place suitable for homes and shops before expecting to sell it for a profit in up to three years' time.

Cllr Dominic Twomey, speaking at the meeting, said there is going to be significant regeneration in the area and the Town Hall wanted to make sure it could shape the area's growth.

"We want to make sure we're at the heart of that regeneration. Let's make sure we can shape that growth where possible and not let people come in and do things they want in a pepper pot sort of way," he added.

After buying it, the council's regeneration arm, Be First, would promote the plot as suitable for shops and homes although under the plans neither Barking and Dagenham nor the firm would be involved in building work.

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The site would be held by a new, council owned company which would allow the Town Hall more flexibility over what it can do with the proceeds.

Council leader, Cllr Darren Rodwell, welcomed the plan, saying the fact the plot is near a planned Crossrail station will help with the regeneration.

Cllr Saima Ashraf praised the scheme, saying: "It's a no brainer. It's a fantastic site. It's a prime location which will definitely make us a revenue."

The hope is that the wider regeneration of Chadwell Heath will be triggered by the Muller site, which is not far from Coventry University, London, and Becontree Heath Leisure Centre.

Cllr Twomey described setting up the new company as "complex" but pointed to Reside and Be First as examples of the Town Hall's skill in forming such special purpose vehicles.

On the risks, he said: "There's always risk with any of these investments. I've never hidden that. We are suitably confident that even with some of those risks this is not going to lose money."

The amount to be borrowed has not been disclosed.

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