Prospective and existing developers in Barking and Dagenham attended a post-MIPIM reception last month, attended by many of the 111 contacts council leader Darren Rodwell made at the global property event in Cannes, France earlier this year.
They came to the Broadway Theatre, Barking, on 20 April, to hear details about the council’s aims to provide 35,000 homes and create 10,000 jobs in the borough over the next 20 years, and to take part in discussions with the council about development opportunities.
In his opening remarks, Rodwell asked delegates to consider three questions: "Is Barking ready for London? Is London ready for Barking? And is it ready for east London?"
Deputy mayor for housing, land and property, Richard Blakeway, spoke to delegates about the borough’s regeneration: “I've often heard places declare themselves to be the next big thing, but some of the stuff you've seen happen here in the last few years demonstrates not just the vision, but also the potential for what can actually be delivered. There is something unbelievably exciting emerging here. This is the place that many new and existing Londonders will be calling home in the future.”
The deputy mayor went on to praise the efforts of Barking and Dagenham's political leadership's and its ability to encourage growth. Describing the borough's attendence at global property event MIPIM in March, for the first time in its history, as "a real breath of fresh air," Blakeway added: "Barking and Dagenham's appearance at MIPIM sent a very strong signal to the development industry that the council is willing to engage with development partners."
The second ingredient was land, of which plenty is available, said Blakeway. The Greater London Authority (GLA) alone holds 250 hectares in the borough. "That's the majority of land owned by the GLA, so there is a major commitment by the mayor to regeneration in Barking and Dagenham.
"In so many places you see a tension over the choice between jobs or homes. Here the land is coming forward to provide a genuine mix."
Describing the potential for growth that could be provided by Crossrail and its link with Abbey Wood, which straddles the borders of Greenwich and Bexley, and a potential further rail extension to Ebbsfleet, Blakeway concluded: "For too long Barking and Dagenham has been seen as the edge, the periphery, of London. But that's just a misperception. In many ways it's at the heart of the south-east."
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