The first in our series looking at L&Q’s Barking Riverside regeneration project – the largest of its kind in the UK
Barking Riverside is a brand new east London riverfront town on the site of a former power station, and is one of the largest regeneration projects in the UK. It will become an innovative, healthy and well-connected place to live, made unique by its heritage, ecology, riverfront location and by its community
The ambitious Barking Riverside development will ultimately deliver 10,800 new homes, with a target of 50% to be affordable, housing an estimated 29,000 people, plus shopping, schools, worship and leisure facilities, all in a 443-acre site alongside the Thames. The force behind the project is Barking Riverside Limited, a joint venture between L&Q and the Mayor of London, and from the outset the plan has been to create a sustainable community, with minimal impact on the environment.
In particular, the development, masterminded by leading architecture and urban design practice Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, aims to tackle the problem of waste in a forward-thinking way. Instead of an estimated 19,000 traditional bins being emptied by eight industrial vehicles, the new development will use a revolutionary system called Envac, which literally sucks waste away at more than 40mph through a subterranean pipe network.
Instead of having to put their bins out at a particular time, residents can simply deposit mixed recycling or residual waste whenever they like into one of 446 Envac waste inlets, steps away from every home. When the underground storage becomes full it will go through an automatic collection cycle that will whizz away the waste to a processing plant. The automatic waste collection was pioneered by Envac in Scandinavia in 1961 and has already been used successfully around the world, including the UK’s first installation at Wembley City in London. The waste system at Barking Riverside will be the largest of its kind in the UK.
Alongside reducing the need for commercial vehicle movements, the development has also been designed to minimise the need for cars. Cycle paths and footpaths run throughout the development, and there is a range of public transport options. At the moment, there are three bus routes serving Barking Riverside. The recently approved plan to extend the London Overground network to Barking Riverside will reduce journey times into the heart of London to just 22 minutes. Construction is now underway, with the first trains expected to run on the 4km extension of the Gospel Oak line in 2021. The new Barking Riverside Station, which will also have a bus interchange, will then link directly with the existing Barking Station, served by the c2c rail service from Tilbury to Fenchurch Street and the District and Hammersmith & City underground lines.
In addition, Transport for London is working with MBNA Thames Clippers to develop the river boat service further along the Thames, with piers proposed for Wapping, Rotherhithe, Greenwich, Beckton and Barking Riverside, providing an alternative commuter route into the city. For those who still feel the need for four wheels, an Enterprise Car Club base is planned for Barking Riverside.
As the development includes 65,000 sq m of commercial space, many people won’t need to commute outside of the development at all. Barking Riverside is part of the larger Thames Gateway redevelopment zone which will ultimately provide tens of thousands of jobs.
The commercial space at Barking Riverside will include seven schools; nursery, primary, secondary and SEN schools, four of which have already been delivered, retail areas including restaurants and cafes, a health centre and pharmacy and leisure facilities, all of which will provide new jobs for the area.
Barking Riverside is designed to retain and nurture the unique ecology of a brownfield site with the inclusion of parks and public spaces within the development and a protected wildlife area on the riverbank. The development is surrounded by approximately 60 hectares of open space; this provides is a wide mix of habitats, ranging from urban, to wetlands, mudflats, creeks, brooks, ponds and the river itself, and the resident wildlife includes 40 species of breeding birds, water voles, as well as common seals.