Town centre not finished
I feel I must comment on the views expressed in last week s Postbag (12 August) by Ian Vickers and Mrs Bowtell about recent developments and changes in Barking Town Centre. Firstly it is not reasonable to condemn developments before they are even complet
I feel I must comment on the views expressed in last week's Postbag (12 August) by Ian Vickers and Mrs Bowtell about recent developments and changes in Barking Town Centre.
Firstly it is not reasonable to condemn developments before they are even completed, and at present the town cannot look its best because of the major building works in progress.
Nor is it reasonable to criticise the efforts being made to sell the new apartments. Nobody could have anticipated the current recession and its effect on property sales. We are fortunate that these buildings are being completed. In many towns the recession has left abandoned building sites.
As to their design, this is an award winning development and great efforts have been made to provide original designs from the best materials. Taste, of course, is very much an individual thing.
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People who choose to live in Barking Town Centre are not short of amenities, and open space, including Barking Park and Abbey Green.
Importantly, they become customers for town centre business. Overall, there are almost no shop vacancies in Barking and the market remains busy.
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Our 'footfall' camera shows as many people visiting as last year even if they spend less. I do not minimise the current difficulties, and these are challenging times for most businesses, but many towns are struggling much more.
The type of shop reflects what people want to buy. Ours is not a regional or metropolitan centre that can support many large stores but it provides good value whilst satisfying most general shopping needs, and a bit more besides.
Head of Regeneration and Economic Development
Barking and Dagenham Council