BARKING (Essex): Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham council, revealed his unlikely “futuristic” 10 year plan today amid the yachts and palm trees of the annual MIPIM property conference on the French Riviera. Images show skyscrapers rising above the town known as the birthplace of England football captains Sir Bobby Moore and John Terry and songwriter Billy Bragg, the “Bard of Barking”.
Mr Rodwell wants to revive a centre dominated by pound shops and social housing after a “30-year downward trajectory” through £2 billion of investment that will eventually bring 6,000 new homes, smarter shops and an art film cinema.
But he insisted that Barking would remain true to its working-class roots and that the regeneration would be aimed at improving life for locals, the ‘Evening Standard’ has reported. Mr Rodwell said: “The skyline suggests a mini-Manhattan. But the new-look town centre will not be a playground for the rich it must deliver truly affordable homes and a range of great leisure and retail facilities for ordinary Londoners.”