Dagenham hosts first Thames Estuary growth event

By Natalie Vincent - Wed 11 October 2017, 1:08 pm

The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham hosted the first-ever Thames Estuary Growth Day event on 5 October, where council representatives from east London, Kent and Essex met with business leaders and major developers to discuss how to stimulate growth in the region, by working together across borders.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, delivers his keynote speech

Held at Londoneast-uk business park in Dagenham East, 230 delegates met to exchange ideas to make the region the new southern powerhouse. Speeches throughout the morning took place, led by Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council.

He spoke about the political shockwaves in his borough caused in 2006 by the BNP's gain of 12 seats on the council, and his decision to enter politics after this:

"We had left [the] people behind, from the de-industrialisation [of the area]. We were once a proud area that had the largest Ford site outside of Detroit. We were built on being blue- collar workers, and our pride was in the history of the work we could do."

He praised the strong economic history of the Thames region: "We'd forgotten that the Thames Estuary corridor was the powerhouse of England. In fact, I'd go one step further and say that it is the powerhouse of the UK. And talking to colleagues of different political persuasions, they also feel that."

The rapid increase in film productions in Barking and Dagenham was shown in a short film screened by Barking and Dagenham Council's film office manager Lisa Dee.

"Over the last two years, we have seen a steady increase in film productions wishing to film in the borough including Marvel's Dr Strange, Avengers: Age of Ultron, to high-end TV productions such as Humans, Black Mirror and Lucky Man. What a great time to be part of Barking and Dagenham."

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