Things to know from Barking and Dagenham – June 2022
51 times Labour
As in the 2018 local elections, Labour again won all 51 seats for Barking and Dagenham Council on 5 May. Since the amalgamation of Dagenham and Barking in 1960, Labour has always had the majority. However, the turnout was only 24.49%, another 5% lower than last time.
Darren Rodwell was elected Leader of the Council for the third time, and Dominic Twomey and Saima Ashraf were re-elected as deputies.
Meanwhile, the council has also appointed a new mayor: Faruk Choudhury. He is a former transport worker and trade unionist and is committed to a “food bank” in his district. He has been a member of the council since 2014. Donations he collects during his twelve months in office benefit a disability organisation and cancer support.
Children open Thames Pier
The Thames Clippers have been able to dock in Barking since May. To kick off the new transport service, pupils from all over Barking and Dagenham were allowed to take a tour to the city centre and back. The boats take just under an hour to travel one way and 30 minutes to Greenwich. The boat service is primarily important for commuter traffic, as the pier is located directly next to the “Barking Riverside” development area with 10,000 homes and seven new schools.
Park in pocket format
One of the “smallest parks in Europe” has been created in Barking’s Gascoigne district. In the course of urban renewal, run-down houses have been demolished there. For at least three years, the Phoenix Park has taken their place. The park was not simply planned, but the neighbours formed a working group that was allowed to determine what should be realised. The result was a play area, a gymnastics facility, a recreation area, a garden area and a large table for communal meals.
500 miles in 20 hours
A surgeon from Barking and Dagenham, Gabriel Sayer, bet friends and acquaintances that he could cycle 500 miles in 20 hours. To do this, he completed 130 laps of Regent’s Park, cycling for four hours at a time, accompanied by colleagues and friends. With this action he remembered his daughter who had died at the age of 22. The £6000 that was put on his challenge is for “Whizz Kids”, an organisation of young wheelchair users.
The Barking & Dagenham and Witten twinning arrangement is one of the oldest existing contacts between a German town and an English town.