�2.1m Barkingside scheme will make High Street ‘magical’

A multi-purpose town square, sun deck and stage are some of the proposed plans that will help make Barkingside a “magical” area for the community.

A consultation meeting revealed the �2.1million plans intended for the Fullwell Cross-end of High Street, Barkingside when it was held at Fullwell Cross Library on Thursday for residents, traders and architects, DK-CM.

The work, which will focus on a new town square, is expected to start in the spring.

John Sharrock, chairman of community group Barkingside 21, said: “Nothing seems absolutely certain but the architects seem to be focusing on the town square and opening up the whole area, in keeping with the library, which they see as iconic.

“I think it will become a really magical area of Barkingside.”

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The cash injection, which was agreed in March, will come from the Mayor of London and Redbridge Council.

Mr Sharrock added: “The most unexpected idea is the big wall in the square, which has been seen as pointless, will include new seating and small roof.

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“People seemed pleased and enthusiastic about the plans but of course everyone has their own agenda. I don’t know if it will necessarily solve the areas problems but hopefully sprucing up the high street will help attract more people.”

Steve Eaton, chairman of the Barkingside Business Traders’ Association, said: “The plans are really good for traders as the town square and the possibility of holding events there will encourage visitors.

“The money has got to help dull Barkingside and it could never be seen as a negative thing. The problem is that only older people seem keen to make their thoughts heard and that means younger people aren’t represented.”

A council spokesman said: “The proposals to create a ‘pocket park’ in Virginia Gardens was popular and residents also like the idea of improving the area around the library and replacing the cobbles.

“These ideas will be developed and fed into the final plans.”

Barkingside 21 will also be holding its annual general meeting on April 17 at the library, where an update on the work is likely to be given.

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