Building work at an innovative industrial and residential development in Barking is beginning to take off.

And to see how work is progressing at the site on Thames Road this week was leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell.

Cllr Rodwell said: “It’s great to see buildings beginning to take shape in what will be a fantastic industrial and residential development which will deliver 156 affordable homes and great opportunities for local people and entrepreneurs.

“It’s quite apt that the new development is being built just yards away from where the UK’s first aircraft factory was built – it shows once again that a new era of industrial innovation is beginning to take off in Barking and Dagenham.”

Cllr Rodwell earlier met Carl Adams of builders McLaren and James Molloy of groundworks and reinforced concrete frame contractor Corbyn Construction at their factory by the River Roding, less than 500 metres away from the development on Thames Road.

Corbyn is currently supplying McLaren with the precast concrete columns which are installed at the development on Thames Road.

Cllr Rodwell said: “I am very impressed that locally made concrete is being used to build development at Thames Road. It keeps wealth in the local economy by employing local companies to create homes and new businesses – it’s a completion of a virtuous circle.”

McLaren Construction is also building Crown House for Be First. Project director Carl Adams comments, “McLaren is proud to be working on two of the most prominent new landmarks in Barking and to be involving local businesses and people wherever possible. We have kept these ambitious public sector projects on track regardless of the pandemic and serious cost inflation, making sure that Be First’s vision for reinventing this site is realised on schedule.”

Ben Green, Senior Development Manager at Be First said: “Utilising Barking’s excellent local supply chain during construction has been a long-term ambition for Be First, as it boosts the local economy and reduces emissions due to shorter delivery distances.

“Mixing employment and residential uses has presented design challenges to the project team, and we are proud of the innovative solutions we have used in the scheme being delivered for the benefit of local residents and businesses.”

The development at 12 Thames Road will include 156 homes, including 77 homes at London Affordable Rent and 79 homes 80 per cent below market rate, and 50,000sqft of new modern employment floorspace.