The following letter has been sent to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, about the proposed development of the Abbey Green Area, situated between the site of Barking Abbey and St. Margaret's Church, and the River Roding.
The Barking and District Historical Society wishes to lodge its opposition to the above proposed development as outlined in the recently published Environmental Impact Assessment. We consider the proposal is flawed in several respects, especially regarding its impact on the built environment and archaeology.
The proposed development will have a major impact on the built environment, especially the Abbey and Barking Town Conservation Area including the remains of Barking Abbey, parish church and churchyard. The proposed massive development, including high rise blocks up to 10 storeys, 27 storeys and 32 storeys high, will destroy the setting of these heritage assets and break the direct connection between the town centre and river. Good design will in no way mitigate or compensate for this huge detrimental impact. This development goes completely against the LBBD Councils’ own 2011 Town Plan which protected this heritage area by only allowing low buildings alongside the Conservation Area.
The proposed development will also have a major impact on the archaeology. The EIA is flawed when it states the archaeology is potentially of regional significance. The archaeology, based on previous investigations, is of national and international significance, especially the Saxon glass workings and Saxon waterfrontage. Barely half of this has been investigated. This proposed development will destroy any remaining archaeology making it impossible to investigate in the future as archaeological methods and dating techniques improve.
Our members are keen that this highly significant part of Barking, which has so many memories, often hidden; and which is such a special place to us all is enhanced, and its future secured so it is no longer at risk. It is imperative that the community’s collective past represented in this site is secured, enhanced and given a central role in our future. This development is counter to our members wishes.
The Barking and District Historical Society asks you to carefully consider this plan and recommend that any development takes fully into account the outstanding heritage of this area.