Barkingside gets �2.1m funding boost after GLA U-turn

Barkingside will benefit from a �2.1million regeneration grant just weeks after campaigners and residents had their hopes dashed.

The scheme to transform the town square in High Street, Barkingside, was denied Greater London Authority (GLA) funding in January.

But following further consultation with Redbridge Council, London Mayor Boris Johnson was convinced to commit �1.9m to the proposals, which include building a “micro-caf�” and improving lighting, signage and parking.

The council will make up the additional funding.

Cllr Harold Moth, a Conservative councillor for Fullwell ward, said: “It really is a bonus and it will very much help that end of the high street.

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“Barkingside has been promised money for quite some time that has never materialised – we’ve wanted this for a very long time.”

The square between Fullwell Cross Leisure Centre and Fullwell Cross Library will be landscaped and provide a “vital space” for cultural events, markets and celebrations, according to a council spokesman.

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John Sharrack, the chair of community group Barkingside21 who will play a lead role in the project, said the square will have to be relaid.

Plans to develop Ilford town centre and a River Roding Valley flood protection scheme were also rejected in January.

The Barkingside plans were reworked and GLA officers visited the area to convince them of the application’s merits.

A GLA report said the unused square currently attracts anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Nick Hayes, the cabinet member for planning and regeneration, said: “We hope that this work will be a catalyst for further investment in the area and help open the door to improved commercial, leisure and community opportunities.”

Mr Sharrack would like to see a disused swimming pool and derelict land off Virginia Gardens turned into a green space as part of the scheme.

A steering group with GLA membership is being set up by Redbridge Council to oversee the project which is expected to take two years to complete.

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