Interview: council chief executive Chris Naylor

Fri 4 November 2016, 4:07 pm

Barking and Dagenham chief executive Chris Naylor tells BOLD about investment opportunities in Barking and Dagenham.

Why should a developer invest in Barking and Dagenham?

Earlier this year an Independent Growth Commission, led by Mike Emmerich, the person behind Manchester’s devolution work, highlighted why Barking and Dagenham is at a key moment in its history, with the right vision as London’s Growth Opportunity. We want to work with people who align to our ambitious vision of transformation.

What are the current key development opportunities in the borough?

The borough has a number of key growth hubs. They are Barking town centre, Barking Riverside, the London Sustainable Industries Park, Beam Park/Former Ford Stamping Plant, Londoneast-uk, Castlegreen/A13 tunnel and Chadwell Heath. Collectively these sites can deliver more than 35,000 new homes and 10,000 new jobs.  

The mayor of London recently approved the Barking Riverside scheme. How will this shape the council’s regeneration strategy?

With 2km of undeveloped, south-facing River Thames frontage to be unlocked through a new London Overground station, Barking Riverside will have a transformational impact on the borough. Barking Riverside is the only NHS England-designated Healthy New Town in London, so the council and a wide range of partners are keen to ensure the development addresses health and wellbeing, sustainability and placemaking in a unique combination that delivers for new and existing residents.

What are the key challenges for local authorities to increase the number of affordable homes?

Barking and Dagenham Council has been one of the best London boroughs for delivering its own affordable housing, but clearly there are significant challenges to deliver homes through the Housing Revenue Account. The council has established Barking and Dagenham Reside to provide discounted market rent homes for people in work. We currently have 621 units built with hundreds more in the pipeline including starting our own shared ownership. 

How will the A13 tunnel improve the infrastructure in the area?

The A13 is currently a major barrier to growth; it damages the London economy with congestion which will get worse with the development along the Thames Estuary, particularly traffic associated with the new ports. Tunnelling the A13 is a solution which can address this, tackle the severance the road currently causes and air pollution problems as well as generating potential for 7,500 homes on the released land. We are working closely with Transport for London on the business case for the tunnel.

The new edition of BOLD magazine focuses on arts and culture. What is the council doing to promote and support creative enterprises, and why is it important to do so?

Art, culture and placemaking are central to our regeneration plans – be it the Barking Artist Enterprise Zone delivering affordable work and living space for artists, our plans for a film studio cluster at Dagenham East or an ambitious placemaking strategy for Barking Riverside. 

We look forward to telling people about our plans and our great partnerships with arts organisations at a BOLD event on 7 November which will also be the formal launch of the council’s Ice House Court Studios space run by Bow Arts. 

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham will attend the next Sitematch London event on 8 February 2017 at The Shard. To book your meeting, contact Josie Brewer.



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