Home Commercial Property The only way is parkland: how Essex’s new super-hero park will boost the local economy

The only way is parkland: how Essex’s new super-hero park will boost the local economy

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1st Aug 11 10:26 am

Hundreds of businesses in Dagenham and Havering receive greater protection from the threat of flooding…and local residents and wildlife receive a boost too.

It might be hard to see how a new public park can spearhead local regeneration, but the new Beam Parklands in Dagenham is expected to do just that.

Sited in the Dagenham Washlands, the new Beam Parklands space is flanked by two rivers, the River Beam and Gores Brook. These fresh-water tributaries become tide-locked a handful of times per year, thanks to a combination of high tide and heavy rain fall.

And when that happens, they become a substantial flood danger to a wide area that houses both Barking Power Station and the Ford plant at Dagenham.

Now thanks to a multi-million pound investment project, the development of the park has added 30,000 cubic meters of flood storage to the existing reservoir. If you’re not well versed in the art of volume analysis, that amounts to significantly improved flood defence for around 600 homes and businesses.

On those days when the area would normally be flooded, the park will now take the excess water and will be partially submerged a few days each year. 

The project is being led by The Environmental Agency and The Land Trust. I caught up with project manager Jonathan Ducker to find out more about what’s in store.

“The environmental agency did a flood risk assessment from for the existing infrastructure in the area, and the value of property at risk was around £1.5bn,” explains Ducker. “The area has now been developed to hold an excess of 475,000 cubic meters of water.”

We asked Ducker to explain exactly what that means for local business: “We have reduced the direct risk to hundreds of existing businesses and enhanced a large area of land for potential business development. The existence of an exemplar park will attract a great deal of visitors to the area – also a massive boost.”

It doesn’t stop there. “We have also improved the mobility of people from Dagenham to the surrounding area by creating cycle and walking paths. This increase in mobility should increase the traffic to the businesses in the area.”

Dagenham and Havering are among some of the most disadvantaged areas in London. The unveiling of London’s newest park there will hopefully kick-start a lasting regeneration; The Land Trust have also recently secured £180,000 from a lottery grant scheme to deliver three years of community engagement and additional on-site enhancements.

Euan Hall, chief executive of the Land Trust, said: “This has been a very important project for The Land Trust, not only because it’s the first park to open in London for more than a decade, but because of the parklands’ important dual purpose.

“This project will ensure a lasting green legacy for people in the community, while increasing flood defences within the South East.”

Now protected by the park

63 Industrial and commercial properties

570 Homes

3 Social clubs

2 Primary schools

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