Thames View, Barking & Dagenham
A dismal council estate trapped between Creekmouth and the A13 – with no Thames view from ground level
This was marshland until the mid-1950s, when the council began building over 2,000 homes using piles and rafts to secure the foundations. With industrial sites scattered in most directions, soulless architecture and a pervading air of dilapidation, this is east London at its most depressing – despite the council’s 21st-century efforts to make this a better place to live.
The estate’s ethnic mix includes residents of white, black African and black Caribbean heritage, but relatively few of Asian descent. In recent years, the council has placed a number of refugee and asylum seeking families here.
Thames View has been the subject of a Sure Start initiative aiming to promote the physical, intellectual and social development of babies and young children. Its organisers commented, “The estate itself is isolated, the community fragmented, with little access to communal facilities. Services are basic, educational attainment poor, life chances limited.”
Newlands Park – the only open play area on the estate – was refurbished in 2001 as part of the lottery-funded A13 Artscape project. The improvements included a leaf-shaped layout, landscaping, skateboarding facilities and new play areas.
On Bastable Avenue – the main thoroughfare – the Sue Bramley Centre co-ordinates the provision of a wide range of welfare services and young children’s educational programmes. The centre is shown below in Street View, together with the neighbouring Thames View health centre, which opened in 2005.
To the south and east of Thames View, a vast brownfield site is being redeveloped as Barking Riverside. Back when the concept was called Barking Reach, things began across Abridge Way with the construction of the Great Fleete estate. Although merely acceptable in terms of its design and build quality, it looks dazzling in comparison with Thames View. Since then, standards have improved further with schemes such as Meadowland and City East.
In April 2016 Barking and Dagenham council’s cabinet entered into the necessary agreements with the Greater London Authority to establish the Barking Riverside Gateways housing zone, which covers the industrial areas on Thames Road and parts of River Road. The housing zone will deliver around 3,000 homes for rent and for sale, provide a new secondary school and remove physical barriers between Barking Riverside and the Thames View estate.