Barking and Dagenham's opportunities for investment were presented at City Hall last night (8 October) during a networking event organised by BOLD magazine publisher, 3Fox International.
The event was attended by more than 170 delegates and featured speeches from several of the borough’s political leaders, as well as Richard Blakeway, the Greater London Authority’s deputy mayor for housing, land and property and Mark Bass, land development and partnership leader at pharmaceutical company, Sanofi.
Sanofi had been based at what is now known as busineseast for 74 years before the site recently closed, but the council worked with investors to re-open the site as a location for science, research and development and high-class manufacturing. The story was used to demonstrate the council’s commitment to working with the private sector to create opportunities in Barking and Dagenham.
Bass said: "This is a very important evening for the borough. It serves to provide this very forward thinking council with a platform to promote such an excellent location for business.
"Our plant is in the process of closing, but rather than simply close the door and walk away, Barking’s innovative regeneration project is looking to leave behind a positive legacy and new jobs with the creation of businesseast.
"It is a dynamic new business park, with the retention of the facilities we used."
Councillor Rocky Gill, deputy leader of Barking and Dagenham Council spoke of the authority’s willingness to work with the private sector.
"Barking and Dagenham is open for private investment,” he said. “We don't just speak about opportunities, we actively work with the private sector to provide affordable rents through the estate renewal programmes in the borough."
Large residential regeneration projects underway in the borough include Eastern End Thames View, the William Street Quarter and the Gascoigne Estate. These were highlighted at display zones throughout “London’s living room” at City Hall.
Other factors making the borough stand out as a place that is ripe for investment were explored, including improvements in leisure facilities education and connectivity – with access to central London taking just 15 minutes by c2c trains.
Cllr Gill highlighted how “London is moving east”, as businesses relocate to the city, highlighting the importance the council is placing upon noroushing these companies through initiatives like the Barking Enterprise Centre and the Technical Skills Academy in Barking.
“Nought to 19-year-olds now account for 31 per cent of the borough,” he said. “It’s a very young population.
“We now have ten children’s centres all rated as outstanding by OFSTED. We are the only local authority to have that 100 per cent record,” he went on to announce.
Also speaking was Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rianham.
“The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has worked hard to develop a strategic plan,” he said. “I am very confident we can deliver it and get to where we need to get to.”
A short video, “London’s Newest Opportunity” was also shown. It will be available on the 3Fox and BOLD websites soon.
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