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Interview: David Harley from Barking and Dagenham Council

Mon 25th February 2013, 2:07 pm

The Sitematch London team speaks to David Harley about development and regeneration in his borough.

What is your role at the council? Responsibilities, duties, etc?

I am the group manager for economic development and sustainable communities responsible for a wide range of regeneration activity in Barking and Dagenham from housing and commercial developments, town centres revitalisation, inward investment, business support through to a very large programme of estate renewal.

If an investor or developer is looking for development sites in Barking and Dagenham, what types for sites are available? Who owns them? What type of development is Barking and Dagenham looking for?

The London Sustainable Industries Park offers opportunities for environmental technology businesses. The businesseast scheme offers science, technology and IT opportunities whilst the Creative Industries Quarter on the River Roding offers very attractive space at affordable rates.  The borough’s business base is growing and with great accessibility it’s a superb place to locate or start up a business – plus there is significant land available for new industrial and employment development.

In Barking Town Centre we are particularly keen to unlock the potential for the evening economy and widen the retail offer to support the borough’s population growth. In terms of ownership it varies although the GLA own substantial tracts of land and we are working with them to unlock the huge potential.

Why should an investor/developer invest in Barking and Dagenham?

Barking and Dagenham has significant growth potential helping to generating new and larger markets. It has superb and improving accessibility - 15 minutes to Fenchurch Street and good road links with the A13 and A406. We are not as far out from the centre of London as people think and always encourage investors to come and see for themselves how the borough is changing and the opportunities available.

What is Barking and Dagenham doing to make the borough more attractive to investors/developers?

We describe ourselves as a ‘Can Do’ Council - we work with the private sector and use our powers, assets and expertise to unlock development potential.  We will help support scheme which deliver jobs and regeneration through the planning process.  The borough’s reputation for high quality public realm and design is growing and infrequent visitors highlight the transformation over recent years. We are lobbying and working with partners to address the key transport and infrastructure improvements which would further the growth potential.

Which key developments are currently in the pipeline? Are there any specific sites that will be marketed soon?

The business east site adjacent to Dagenham East station including the development of a Science and Technology Park alongside an IT Park is in its critical year of needing to finalise who will take forward different plots.  With millions spent on infrastructure improvements the next phases of the London Sustainable Industries Park are coming on stream now. The council is pursuing numerous housing developments both on its own and with a range of partners whilst Barking Town Centre has a range of large and small opportunities.

Could you give an update on the Barking Riverside regeneration scheme? What are the opportunities to developers?

Barking Riverside is the largest development opportunity in the borough with outline approval for 10,800 homes on a site with 2km of River Thames frontage. Community facilities and schools are being built alongside the new housing which is of very high environmental and design standards and offers extremely good value for money. In the first half of 2012 Barking Riverside was the sixth highest selling housing site in London. There are numerous future phases with various opportunities available. 


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