Council leader greets first family to move into new Barking homes
PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 April 2019
The borough’s council chief on Thursday toured new homes built on a converted central reservation in Barking.
Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, met the first two tenants of the recently-completed Truscott House development on North Street.
Joined by press officers and representatives of the local authority’s regeneration firm, Be First, the Labour councillor for Abbey ward wasted little time praising the properties.
“I think they are fantastic, individual spaces for people to enjoy,” he told the Post.
“And I could never believe we could have something so unique on what was just a piece of poorly-maintained green space.”
The site consists of 14 properties; 12 one-bedroom homes and a couple of two-bedroom houses adapted for those with disabilities.
Construction began in May 2017 with the view the homes would be ready for Christmas last year, a schedule hampered by issues with asbestos as well as gas and electricity connections, according to Be First staffer Ola Laniyan.
“That delayed us quite a bit,” said Ms Laniyan, one of the company’s assistant construction directors, who added that the project was eventually completed last month.
Slotting the homes along the narrow strip of land had been “challenging”, she explained, though she expected they “should be fully occupied in no time”.
Now the council hopes the site will ease pressure on its housing waiting list.
Asked how this would be done, Cllr Rodwell said: “We look at need, because our waiting list is always based on need.
“We’ll look to move families that have the highest priority based on their need and then, you know, go and get a very nice shiny new property that’s going to be here for a very long time.”
Inside one of the homes, Leianne Cable gazed through the first floor bedroom’s French window onto her new veranda.
The 28-year-old from Barking and her mother, Lynne, had become the first residents of Truscott House that morning.
“We got the keys today and signed for it today,” she said.
“As soon as we can we want to try and move bits in. I can’t wait.”