THE NEW development known as Barking Riverside, which is being built on the site of the former Barking Power Station, can go ahead now – with the Government agreeing that the London Overground can be extended to the new development.
The Government has agreed that Transport for London (TfL) can build an extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line, taking public transport to the heart of the new development via overground trains. Work is due to begin in the summer next year and the service should be up and running by the end of 2021.
The new rail line is expected to run four trains an hour which will go to Barking, where they will link up with the Tube (District Line and the Hammersmith & City Line) and train services to London Fenchurch Street (currently operated by c2c). Most of the cost of the extension will be met by the Barking Riverside developers, who are expected to pay £172 million of the £263 million cost. The balance will be paid by TfL, which prioritises spending public funds on transport schemes which facilitate the creation of new housing and jobs.
Installing a working public transport system was a condition of the planning consent for the Barking Riverside site, so the go ahead for the Overground will act like a big domino, knocking other parts of the development into place. It’s no wonder London Mayor Sadiq Khan welcomed the news that the Overground extension can go ahead.
Mayor Khan agreed a Masterplan to develop the Barking Riverside site nearly a year ago. There’s 180 hectares to build on, so there will be at least 10,800 new homes – and the Masterplan hopes that half of these will be affordable.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “This is wonderful news for east London. Barking Riverside has huge potential to deliver thousands of much-needed affordable homes, and the extension of the Overground will ensure residents have the high-quality transport links they need, both to the surrounding area and commuting into central London.”
However, Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, seemed to have rather lost the plot. He said, “This is fantastic news and shows Barking Riverside is on track to become Barcelona on Thames. It’s also yet another sign that Barking and Dagenham is at the epicentre of London’s eastward shift.”
Barking? Barcelona? Really? Perhaps Cllr Rodwell has an over-developed sense of humour.