Agenda item

Economic Infrastructure


The Deputy Development Director (DDD) at Be First delivered a presentation on the economic infrastructure that was being delivered in the Borough, which detailed:


  • The Be First mission, which was to accelerate regeneration in the Borough, so that no-one was left behind;
  • The Transformation Areas and Aspiration Zones within the Borough, which had huge potential for growth and to provide opportunities for residents;
  • Examples of regeneration within the Borough, which were creating jobs for residents, such as Dagenham East, Eastbrook Studios and Dagenham Dock;
  • Examples of regeneration within the Borough, which had provided workspaces and event venues (such as the “Make It London” space), as well as artistry space and accommodation (such as the “House for Artists”);
  • Future commercial-led mixed-use schemes, such as the Factory District;
  • Future industrial schemes and concepts, including innovative stacked industrial units;
  • The Good Food Economy Partnership, which would build a wider movement for good food that supported residents to grow, cook, eat, share and enjoy good food, as well as develop the reputation of Barking town centre as London’s new food destination;
  • The Thames Freeport;
  • The Barking Town Centre Regeneration Strategy 2020-2030;
  • Plans to transform the Vicarage Field Shopping Centre into a mixed-use scheme, combining retail, education, health, food and drink and residential facilities;
  • Barking Station improvement plans;
  • The Food Hub, which would uplift Barking’s food and beverage offer; and
  • The “levelling-up” bid for Dagenham Heathway.


The Head of Transport Infrastructure and Policy Planning (HTIPP) at Be First then delivered a presentation on the Transport Growth Programme, which outlined:


  • How growth could be unlocked through transport, highlighting the positive impact of initiatives such as Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points, cycle training and improved bus lanes for the Borough;
  • Key focus areas for growth, as set out in the Local Plan;
  • Transport Priorities set out in the Local Plan;
  • Key initiatives that had already been delivered, such as the Barking Riverside Overground Station and the Barking Riverside Pier;
  • Plans for “levelling-up” bids in Dagenham Heathway and Barking Town Centre;
  • Cycling improvements;
  • Key safety schemes for delivery in 2023;
  • Bus improvement priority schemes for 2023;
  • Work to improve the Borough’s rail stations and connectivity;
  • A13 junction improvement work; and
  • Funding information for schemes and works planned.


In response to questions from Members, the HTIPP and the DDD stated that:


·  Most of the complaints received around TfL related to bus delays; whilst there had not been a lot of complaints received about the level of service, the HTIPP encouraged Members to raise these with him where these did occur. The capacity and issues at Barking Station were currently on TfL’s risk list in terms of new infrastructure schemes that they needed to address, to improve the service at that station, which was the ninth busiest in the UK. Be First also wanted to continue to work with TfL to improve services in East London. The SDIG echoed that whilst East London had previously not received as good a transport offer as the rest of London, Be First and the Council would continue to push for better services, particularly as London was moving eastward. Whilst this was not directly within their control, they had much evidence through the census to confirm the changing demographics in the Borough and the importance of prioritising better East London services.

·  TfL was not going to extend the cycle hire scheme that it ran in the centre of London (the Santander scheme) to outer London boroughs; as such, Be First and the Council were looking at whether it could hold its own scheme with other neighbouring boroughs. They would consider whether they could tender and procure this, so that residents could rent bikes and electric bikes. 

·  Lots of engagement work had been undertaken with schools, using the endowment money from the Film Studios; over the Summer 2022, 700 children and young people from local schools had visited the Studios to look at careers in the film industry. Lots of work was also being undertaken around the food sector, with local colleges and schools, to evidence the types of jobs available and show how young people could go into this industry.

·  The Transformation Areas were located across the entire borough, to ensure that improvement and investment was spread out across this.

·  There was lots of work being undertaken around the cost-of-living crisis and warm spaces and were these were located in the Borough; this programme was already being delivered.

·  Heathway road improvements would enable the road space to be safer to cycle on, ensure greater bus flow and ensure that the road was safer to cross for pedestrians.

·  The Borough had poor levels of air quality and there was lots of work to be done around this; when the Council looked at economic infrastructure, it had a responsibility to consider air quality because of the implications, long-term health conditions and environmental damage associated with this. It aimed to do this in a way that improved outcomes for residents, which was part of the thinking around the “Healthy Streets” initiative.

·  Be First was also undertaking work around the A13 and considering how best to divert traffic and ensure that lorry traffic did not impact on smaller streets within the Borough.

·  The Good Food Economy was looking to promote healthy eating and create proper infrastructure for children, young people and families within the Borough. The Inclusive Growth and Be First teams were working closely with Public Health, as well as were bidding for additional funding around this work.

·  In terms of low traffic neighbourhoods, the Council and Be First were going to focus their efforts on the Schools Streets programme; they were in the process of delivering an additional nine streets and they also had a large list of applications for schools streets to implement over the next two years. Out of £1.4 million, £200,000 of the Schools Streets funding would be put towards cameras and the technology to implement this, with the income generated from Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) able to part fund the schemes.

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