‘Nice’ or ‘hideous’? Shoppers share thoughts on Vicarage Field redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 July 2019

Artist's impression of the Vicarage Field redevelopment. Picture: Benson Elliot

Artist's impression of the Vicarage Field redevelopment. Picture: Benson Elliot

Benson Elliot

From “nice” to “hideous”, the proposed redevelopment of Vicarage Field has divided opinion.

Vicarage Field shopping centre is set to be redeveloped. Picture: Ken MearsVicarage Field shopping centre is set to be redeveloped. Picture: Ken Mears

The Post revealed last week how more than 800 families could be living on top of the shopping centre as part of a major transformation of the 138,000 sq m site.

Developers Benson Elliot also hope to build a 150-room hotel above the shopping centre, with a new primary school and healthcare centre nearby.

The Post visited Vicarage Field to speak to shoppers about what they thought about the new-look shopping centre.

One shopper, who travelled from Redbridge, said: "I think it's good, Barking really needs redevelopment.

"Some of the other boroughs have been receiving a lot more."

But the height of the development - the tallest tower being 138m - did not go down well with everyone.

"This shouldn't be accepted," one woman from Dagenham said. "I am not happy with the high rise.

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"It looks unstable, the world is changing and if an underground tremor happens this is not safe."

Janet Elliot, from Dagenham, added: "We need more council homes, not private and I don't think it should be high rise.

"The main problems are schooling and doctors in this borough. I worry about the parking, it will be chaos."

Aida Alen, from Barking, agreed with the proposed development.

"I think it's good," she said. "I prefer them looking more square, but it's good for the area and it will be good to keep the shops below."

Another shopper added: "It's nice, it will look different and make Barking look nice. Who would be against this?"

The answer to that, it turned out, was a shopper from Dagenham who said: "It's hideous, really, really ugly and we don't need it."

That mixed reaction was reflected among readers. Just over half of the people who responded to a poll on our website (52.92per cent) said they supported the proposals.

There were 39.78pc of voters who said they did not like the plans, while the remainder said they were unsure.

Work on the redevelopment of Vicarage Field could begin as early as next year, with the whole site expected to take around four to five years to complete.

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