News from Barking & Dagenham – January 2023
£30 million for hospitals
Two hospitals in East London, Barking Community Hospital and Mile End Hospital, are being given £30 million by the National Health Service to build modern diagnostic centres. Waiting times for tests will be reduced and patients will be able to access treatment more quickly. Both hospitals are already well-equipped, according to information from the health service. The aim is to find and treat the causes of diseases more quickly.
Fish market has suffered
Billingsgate Market, the largest fish market in the UK and one of the three markets to move to Dagenham Dock as part of a huge regeneration project, has been hit very hard by Corona restrictions and economic problems. At times, only four major traders were allowed to offer their fish. And after the Corona loosenings, business is far from being at full speed. People are eating out less often, and restaurateurs are buying correspondingly less. And at home, too, there is less fish on the table because of the high prices.
Billingsgate Market has originally offered salt, pottery, ironmongery and coal since the end of the 16th century. It got its halls on Lower Thames Street in 1850 and operated there for over a century. In 1982 came the move to Canary Wharf, where it can still be found.
Library of useful things
Some gadgets and things you only use occasionally but want to have available. Others are bought to try out – then they sit around. Eventually they are discarded, again more rubbish.
Our twin city is taking steps against this and has set up a “library of things” in the community centre next to the town hall. There you can borrow a drill every day or a party kit for the children’s birthday party, the carpet cleaner, the ice maker or the big waffle iron. Even foldable mattresses and loudspeaker systems for the next demonstration are on offer.
Tug-of-war over new railway station
The site of the abandoned Ford works is to be used for new housing development, around 3000 new homes, some belonging to Dagenham, some to Havering. But progress on the project, the first stage of which has started, is in danger of stalling. The reason is the Beam Park railway station, on the other side of the town boundary, which is needed for the many new residents.
The planners had assumed that this station would be built in the short term. But in December, the railway company let the two towns know that this project was by no means a done deal. Now letters to the editor and letters from the authorities are pouring in, saying that one cannot settle several thousand people without offering them efficient transport connections.
The Barking & Dagenham and Witten twinning arrangement is one of the oldest existing contacts between a German town and an English town.