£350 million scheme approved

Tue 23 July 2019, 10:12 am

Planning permission has been granted for a major £350m regeneration scheme to transform Abbey Retail Park in Barking into a riverside urban village with more than 1,000 new homes.

Housebuilder Weston Homes and the Estates & Agency Group were given planning permission to create Abbey Quays at the six-acre site by Barking and Dagenham Council in June.

The development will provide 1,089 new homes, with 737 one, two and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses for private sale, and 352 as affordable housing through affordable rent, shared ownership and discount market-sale tenures.

The apartments are spread across 13 residential blocks split across three buildings, which range from seven to 29 storeys. The residential buildings are arranged around a pair of large communal landscaped podium gardens.

There will also be commercial space, a community hall, leisure space including a new riverside pub/restaurant, and a training centre/gym area to be handed over to double Olympic champion Max Whitlock for a health club. This huge urban renewal project will also look out onto the River Roding, as well as providing quick access to both road and public transport links.

The area has an interesting history as it was a bustling fishing village in the 19th century and a major industrial zone during the Victorian era. The retail park was built by the Estates & Agency Group during the 1980s providing retail warehouse units and parking.

Architectural firm Broadway Malyan created the masterplan and design for Abbey Quays, which includes contemporary buildings with a reception-hub and pavilion building.

There will be public artwork commissioned by local artist Susanna Wallis in the form of large-scale murals to be etched into the brickwork of building facades, and the illustrations will make reference to Barking history.

The open space within the development will have a new riverside walkway, a water feature, waterfront steps and Loxford Plaza - a large riverside public square. There will be a Maker’s Yard with a second public square bordered at ground level offering employment space for creators and business start ups. There will also be two communal gardens for residents with rooftop terraces and green roofs on the new buildings.

The pavilion building in the plaza will have the new pub/restaurant, with outside terraces and balconies providing views over the river. There will also be food and beverage kiosks and stalls around the plaza. The Maker’s Yard will be lined with cafes with space for outside exhibitions and market or deli stalls.

Detailed design along the waterfront will make references to the area’s fishing village history, and the journeys that fishermen made going as far as Iceland.

The development will introduce 27 different species of plants and flowers with roses, violets, periwinkles, and new trees that include birch, crab apple, oak and lime species. The birch trees pay homage to the Anglo-Saxon name for Barking – Berecignum – which means dwellers amongst the birch trees.

This is the eighth residential development in the borough for the award-winning Weston Homes, with past projects including Mayesbrook Manor and Rivermill Lofts.

Bob Weston, chairman and chief executive of Weston Homes, said: “The regeneration of this important Gateway site into a new waterfront urban-village adjacent to Barking Town Centre forms part of the Borough Council’s vision of bringing aspirational waterfront living to Barking.

“The £350m ‘Abbey Quays’ is one of the biggest urban renewal projects in East London, delivering striking new buildings, riverside public spaces, inward investment and job creation. The regenerated site will provide much needed affordable local housing for local Londoners, further enhance the local community and complement the existing centre.”

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