Below is a list of frequently asked questions about the Vicarage Field Redevelopment and our responses. We hope you find these useful but if you have any other questions, you can contact us:
- Q. Are all the shops going to be replaced?
A. Yes, the shopping centre will be redeveloped in its entirety to provide high quality units, more in line with the needs of modern retailers. There will be opportunities for key anchors and a wider cultural/leisure offer.
- Q. What new shops can we expect? Which retailers have you spoken to already?
A. It is still too early to say exactly which retailers will form part of the shopping offer, however many of the retail and leisure operators we work with elsewhere are not currently represented in the town centre, whether they have been here previously and left or never had a presence. The retail industry is undergoing a period of large-scale change, with sizes/shapes/positioning of floorspace being radically altered to reflect the big consumer trends. Very little modern retail space has been available in the town centre during the last 20 years and with a significant number of new homes being built, we feel this represents an attractive proposition for rebuilding the current tenant mix. We will be able to say more on the shopping offer at a later stage.
- Q. What will happen to the existing retailers on site? Will they be re-provided space within the development?
A. All of the existing tenants in the Vicarage Field Shopping Centre are aware of the redevelopment and, where possible, we will be helping businesses to find alternative premises before the construction phase starts.
- Q. Will there be restaurants or just shops?
A. Food and beverage, especially relaxed casual dining for families and young people is very much part of a contemporary shopping/leisure mix. We see the development helping to establish a safe, welcoming and highly enjoyable evening experience in Barking town centre, stimulating interest in all its social and cultural facilities.
- Q. Why are you building new homes? How many homes will there be?
A. Barking Town Centre was designated a ‘Housing Zone’ by the Mayor of London in February 2015. The aim of a Housing Zone is to significantly increase supply to help meet the Borough’s and London’s increasing housing demands.
- Q. What kind of homes are you proposing?
A. The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham has granted us outline permission for up to 850 homes, ranging from studio to 3-bed flats.
- Q. How will the new residents be affected by noise/pollution?
A. As part of the planning process, we undertook a full environmental assessment to help us identify any noise/air pollution measures that need to be taken. The project team is keen to demonstrate environmental and social responsibility and believe the proposals will create healthy living environments for all occupants and visitors through vastly improved green and open spaces.
- Q. Why do we need a cinema? How big will it be and who will it be run by?
A. We are aware of the Abbey Sports ground proposals for a three-screen cinema. Our proposals to include a new cinema as part of Vicarage Field are conceptual at the moment, but we see this as a mainstream operator, with a family orientated offer of about 6-8 screens and a range of restaurants nearby for casual dining. As a whole, we feel the proposals will help bring further investment and footfall to the town centre, to the benefit of all surrounding businesses and traders.
- Q. Why do we need a music venue? What will it look like and who will it be run by?
A. The music venue would provide a different offer to the Broadway Theatre. It would be flexible, multi-use, with the entrance located on the first floor in close proximity to the restaurants and cinema to contribute to the new leisure destination. Benson Elliot and Londonewcastle were previously engaged in a scheme in Ealing where they proposed a similar venue and looked to local interest groups to assist in the design and operation of the venue. We anticipate the same process here.
- Q. How many rooms will the hotel have?
A. The hotel will have 150 rooms and will be positioned in the centre of the development overlooking the main public space.
- Q. What type of school are you proposing? How big will the school be?
A. The development includes space for a three-form entry primary school. A typical three-form entry school takes 90 pupils a year (3 x 30).
- Q. I am interested in the proposed enterprise centre/space for start-up businesses. Can you tell me more about this?
A. As part of the redevelopment we are looking to provide enterprise space for new employment, up-skilling and start-up opportunities. Opportunities to lease or rent are still some way off, but you can register your interest by emailing email@example.com.
- Q. What will the health care facility look like? Where will it go?
A. The development allows for a clinic to be located on the corner of Vicarage Drive and Ripple Road. The exact size, configuration and timescales for provision of this facility are subject to consultation with local stakeholders.
- Q. Where will the doctor’s surgery relocate to whilst construction takes place?
A. We are in discussions with the Council and local health providers as to how we can best manage the transition between the current provision of healthcare and the proposed replacement facilities.
- Q. What public spaces are you proposing? Will the green spaces be open to the public?
A. We are proposing a mixture of publically and privately accessible open space. The entire ground and first floors will be open to the public and feature seating areas and landscaping. Trees and foliage will also line the first floor walkway to help create a green quality to the shopping and leisure experience. A separate field level will also be accessible to residents.
- Q. How much parking are you providing as part of the development? Will the roads be able to handle more traffic?
A. We very much appreciate that a sensitive balance needs to be struck between the interests of town centre residents, shoppers and commuters, plus evening visitors. The redevelopment will include replacement parking for the new shopping centre. For residents, we will be delivering a largely car free scheme, in-line with the London Plan’s policies, save for a small number of wheelchair/blue badge-user car parking spaces.
- Q. Will there still be access to St Awdry’s Walk?
A. As part of the redevelopment, the existing St Awdry’s Walk will effectively be brought within the scheme, so there is a much more pleasant 24-hour route through Vicarage Field to Station Parade. We believe this will be a more welcoming and safer alternative.
- Q. How will the site be managed? Will it be safe?
A. There will be CCTV and 24 hour on site security. Benson Elliot has a great deal of experience operating in town centre locations across the country and will have a full time management team on site. The intention is to make Vicarage Field a community focussed development, so every effort will be taken to prevent any anti-social behaviour.
- Q. What are the next steps? How will construction be managed?
A. As this is an outline permission, we will need to seek approval of the detailed reserved matters and undertake any necessary CPO processes before any construction can commence.
Vicarage Field will deliver around 850 homes, all of which will meet the height, size and density standards set out by the London Plan.
We do envisage making space for car-club initiatives and high quality cycle storage. We will also be engaging with the Council and train operators, including TfL and c2c to ensure that operational plans are aligned to anticipate levels of usage associated with the town centre.
Construction detail is at an early stage and the strategy is being developed in coordination with the Borough. It is important that disruption is minimised and we are looking at whether it’s possible for the new retail areas to open early or if temporary uses can be installed on part of the site during construction to protect the vitality of the town centre.
Q. How long will it take to build the development?
A. Currently, we envisage construction to take around 4-5 years to complete.