The regeneration of Barking town centre has entered a new era with the official opening of Short Blue Place.
The new public space is framed by one of the town’s oldest buildings as well as two of its newest structures and features designs by Patel Taylor and Muf architects.
It gets its name from the Short Blue fishing fleet, which turned Barking into Britain’s busiest fishing port and was owned by the Hewett family.
The family’s Fawley House residence stands at Short Blue Place’s entrance, while the space also hosts the town’s under-construction Asda store and is the main access route to the iconic Rick Mather-designed Technical Skills Academy.
Short Blue Place features an eye-catching interpretation plaque detailing Barking’s maritime heritage, and a striking ship sculpture depicting the history of the Short Blue fleet will soon be on display at its entrance.
Barking & Dagenham Council’s regeneration lead, Councillor Cameron Gedddes, said the town was becoming known for its high-quality public space following awards success for Barking Town Square and the arboretum, which won the European Prize for Public Space in 2008.
“I am delighted that Short Blue Place is following on from that success and has been shortlisted for the National Urban Design Public Sector Award,“ he said.
“However this is not just about creating an award-winning public realm, we also want to create an environment for residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Barking and Dagenham was awarded funding from the Mayor of London’s Outer London Fund to deliver Short Blue Place.
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