Proposals to transform Vicarage Field in Barking town centre submitted

Benson Elliot and development managers Londonewcastle have submitted a planning application to London Borough of Barking & Dagenham for the redevelopment of the Vicarage Field Shopping Centre site in Barking town centre.

The plans comprise a comprehensive redevelopment of the existing shopping centre and adjoining buildings to provide a modern retail, restaurant and leisure offer with more choice and variety; as well as up to 850 high quality homes; a three-form entry primary school; a 6-8 screen cinema and 300-capacity music venue; a 150-room hotel; flexible enterprise space for start-up businesses; healthcare facilities and extensive public realm and green space.

The high quality mixed-used development, designed by architects Studio Egret West, supports the Borough’s vision for economic growth by delivering a wide range of benefits including up to 1,000 new full-time jobs, with a target of half going to local people. The proposals also support the Growth Commission’s report which identified Barking town centre as a priority opportunity to create a new city district with the variety and interest of London’s best centres.

Peter Cornforth, Director of Retail at Benson Elliot, said:
“This is an exciting milestone for our redevelopment plans, which we believe will support the creation of a vibrant town centre in Barking. We’ve been greatly encouraged by the positive feedback we’ve received from local communities and the Council and we look forward to continuing to work with them to make this project a reality. Our proposals support the Borough’s vision for new homes and the Barking town centre Housing Zone as well as local economic growth for the benefit of everyone. The regeneration of this key east London metropolitan centre will play a pivotal part in shaping Barking’s long-term future.”

Mark Bass, President of the Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The redevelopment of the Vicarage Field site offers a fantastic opportunity to encourage more growth and investment in the town centre. New retail and leisure opportunities will provide new jobs, greater choice for local residents and attract more visitors to Barking, helping to invigorate the local economy and enhance the economic success of local businesses. We were excited to see the vision for the site at public exhibitions in March and look forward to seeing the project become a reality in the future.”

A full engagement programme with local communities, councillors and officers at London Borough of Barking & Dagenham was undertaken on the proposals, ahead of submitting the planning application.

A public consultation explaining the plans and seeking feedback was held between March and May 2016, which included an exhibition and a six-week programme of activities run by Barking-based organisation Studio 3 Arts. Over 1,000 people attended the consultation events and the Studio 3 experience included a pop-up garden at the shopping centre with performances from local artists and masterclasses in flower arranging, planting and potting.

Over 200 people responded to the consultation and the majority of the responses were positive with almost three quarters (74%) supporting the plans. The proposals can still be viewed at www.newvicaragefield.co.uk.

London Borough of Barking & Dagenham will now start its own consultation on the plans and a decision is expected to be made by the Council’s Development Control Board (DCB) later this year.

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NOTES TO EDITORS

For further information please contact Hanna Smith, hs@londoncommunications.co.uk, 020
7612 8499 or Jonny Simmonds, js@londoncommunications.co.uk, 020 7612 8473.

About Londonewcastle
Londonewcastle is a multi-award winning developer of homes in London. Since establishment in 1995, the business has developed a reputation for consistently delivering residential-led mixed use developments that combine contemporary architecture and design-led interiors with an uncompromising attention to detail. Londonewcastle is committed to creating properties of the highest standard. The business is focused on new development and urban regeneration projects that aim to create a sense of place and sustainable community and in doing so, meet the long term needs of Londoners.

About Vicarage Field
Vicarage Field is located in the heart of Barking, on a 5.2 acre site, opposite Barking station.. The existing shopping centre was constructed in 1991, on the site of the former Barking FC football ground , and comprises 156,000 sq ft of retail space, together with 500 parking spaces. The scheme was previously home to food store anchor Asda, who relocated to a much larger town centre store in September 2015.

Benson Elliot acquired the Centre in June 2015 and have re-evaluated the site’s contribution to Barking, particularly in light of its previous planning consent for a 23 storey residential scheme and the town centre’s recent Housing Zone designation by the GLA.

About the Proposals
The proposals submitted to the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham would see the existing shopping centre redeveloped to create a mixed-use scheme comprising 275,994 sq ft of retail floorspace (A1-A5) use, up to 54,876 sq ft of leisure floorspace (D2), up to 13,450 sq ft B1 offices, up to 879,630 sq ft residential floorspace (C3), up to 83,390 sq ft hotel floorspace (C1), spare for a three-form entry primary school (D1), healthcare facilities (D1), a new cycle hub accommodating 286 bicycles for workers and visitors, plant and basement parking.

A continuous route from Abbey Grounds to Barking station would be created through the new development, significantly enhancing the public realm and building on the success of Barking Central and the upgrade of East Street. New landscaping and amenity space would create a more vibrant and welcoming environment, encouraging a sense of community and civic pride. Residents would also benefit from separate communal space made up of growing spaces, play space, seating areas and lawn areas arranged to create field patterns when viewed from the homes above.

About Studio 3 Arts

Studio 3 Arts is an award-winning, socially-engaged arts organisation based in Barking for nearly 30 years. It is part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio and the lead organisation for Creative Barking & Dagenham. www.studio3arts.org.uk

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