‘Adventurous’ £2.1m plan to revamp Barkingside High Street approved by council

An artist's impression of the Virginia Gardens pocket park.

An artist's impression of the Virginia Gardens pocket park. - Credit: Archant

“Adventurous” plans to create a pocket park, town square and modernise a Grade II listed library in Barkingside, will go ahead after the council approved the scheme on Monday.

The £2.1million cash injection will see the Fullwell Cross-end of the High Street regenerated and a community space created.

Work is expected to begin next month and be completed by March 2014.

Cllr Richard Hoskins, chairman of the regulatory committee which approved the plans, said: “I think the plans are adventurous. Hopefully the scheme will regenerate the Barkingside area.”

The biggest change will be the creation of a new public square outside Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre which will be used for markets and events for residents up until 11pm.

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A platform will also be built to provide a more “formal” events space.

A pocket park will replace the sundeck in Virginia Gardens which will include a new play area and benches as well as a small retail space.

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The existing stairs and ramps which surround Fullwell Cross Library will be removed and new access points will be created alongside a balcony entrance with broad steps.

New trees and “soft landscaping” will also be added around the library and park.

Paul Ziles, owner of Mayfair Stationers, in High Street, said: “I am concerned the park and town square won’t necessarily encourage people to shop in the area and I think more could have been done for traders.

“Parking is the problem for people coming from outside the nearby area as the council pounce on every car that arrives.

“The money should have been used to allow 15 minutes free parking.”

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