A company dedicated to accelerating economic growth has been set up in Barking and Dagenham.
The council gave the green light to Be First yesterday (15 November), with the aim of speeding up regeneration and development and to spur growth in the borough, as well as increasing the opportunities for residents. The move follows a recent investigation by an independent growth commission into the prospects for Barking and Dagenham.
Be First will work on attracting investment and funding into the borough, which will be put towards new homes, better infrastructure and creating jobs.
The company will be entirely owned by the public sector and managed by a board of regeneration experts. It is expected to generate an income of £16 million for the council over the next 10 years.
Though the council will continue to make final decisions on planning applications and to approve strategic plans and policies, the company will offer pre-planning services and project delivery services, as well as setting up joint ventures and other companies to deliver regeneration.
“Barking and Dagenham is already recognised as one of London’s growth hotspots but we are determined to ensure that investors understand that it is not just the best place in the capital, but also one of the easiest to do business with,” said Councillor Dominic Twomey, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for finance, growth and investment.
“Be First will be a major force in driving down unemployment, building housing and improving education and skills in the borough.”
Appointments to the board of Be First will be made by spring 2017 and staff recruitment during the summer.
The company is expected to start operating in October 2017.
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