Rail boost for the new Barcelona — sorry, Barking — as Government greenlights new train line

Barking16: Barking Riverside (development) sign 160816 © David.altheerr@gmail.com
Top, Barking Station as the planners envisage it and, above, the reality of “Barkelona” last year

* Update January 2017: Barking and Dagenham has come at the top of a survey to find the leading London district for young parents. The research was not by estate agents or a property firm but by the respected consumer group Which. The borough had more babies — 19  per 1,000 — than other boroughs which, combined with the average property price of £288,000, makes it a good spot for this generation of baby boomers


GOOD NEWS FOR would-be flat-buyers: a new front has been opened in the battle to find more property sites. The Gospel Oak-Barking Overground line has been given the all-clear by the Government to extend by 4.5km to Barking Riverside.

Yes, the marketing people dubbed it Riverside. The evocative name was not, however, justified by reality when Loving Dalston visited the development. Rather, its muddy, windswept feel justified the mocking tone of the media, this site among them, especially when the local council described the Thamesside district as the new Barcelona (“Barkelona?).

It would not be the first that hacks have got it wrong and the rail line, along with a mostly car-free cycle path, will put the 10,800 planned homes within feasible commuting distance of Hackney (51 minutes), the City (34 mins) and West End (50 mins). At least, it will late in late 2021, the official date for when trains Barking Riverside station will open for business.

You may have to wait several years for the train to take you to the City but a separate new rail line has already opened: for a freight service to and from Yiwu in Zhejiang province, China.

One way and another, Barking is worth consideration by millennials and others with a wad of a deposit money..

Try not to be bothered by the usual deceptive claims of affordability, expressed thus: “As many as 50 per cent of these homes could be affordable”.

Of course, it’s worth looking into, anyway, just for the hype so beloved of Darren Rodwell, Barking and Dagenham Council’s irrepressible leader. His contribution to the Transport for London press rhelease was to say: “This is fantastic news and shows Barking Riverside is on track to become Barcelona on Thames… Barking and Dagenham is at the epicentre of London’s eastward shift.”

Hamish Scott 080817
* Backstory: Barkin’ ’ell! 
* Publicity picture at top has been supplied.
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