Barking town centre scheme approved

Barking town centre is set to be transformed after new plans were approved.

Tower blocks and shops will be built in the middle of the town overlooking the public square and across from the town hall. The new towers are the latest step in the regeneration of the town centre.

The £16 million plans will see 65 flats built in the heart of Barking – as the centre of the East London neighbourhood is regenerated. The blocks – up to eight storeys tall – will be built on the site of the former Capitol Cinema and Marks and Spencer buildings. They will sit next to the newly-refurbished Magistrates Court.

Replacing the brutalist block currently on the site, the modern building will stretch between the town square and Barking High Street. As well as the flats, the building cluster will have over 1,600 square metres of space for shops and offices.

Designed by RUFF Architects, the plans were approved by Barking and Dagenham Council at the second time of asking.

The scheme was rejected in 2020 for a number of reasons – including blocking sunlight to the neighbourhood, poor design, and not fitting in with the surrounding area. The revised plans have seen the buildings shrunk – down from 79 flats to 65 – and redesigned slightly to match the neighbouring area

The architects said the new scheme would be a great boost to Barking town centre. Paul Ruff, practice director at RUFF Architects, told Architects’ Journal: “With careful redesign of the proposal to respond to the council’s latest thoughts on massing, we are able to still deliver much-needed family accommodation and new homes in this constrained urban site while ensuring town-centre commercial can prosper and support the wider cultural initiatives the council is implementing.”

A construction timetable has not yet been announced.


Alastair Lockhart

Local Democracy Reporter