Monday, 11th July 2016

Temple Brown Bag Breakfast (BBB) recap: Matt Carpen at Barking Riverside – lessons learnt from super-scale brownfield sites

Matt Carpen, Project Director for Barking Riverside, joined Temple this month to share his experience of redeveloping one of the largest brownfield sites in Europe. He talked us through the variety of both expected and unforeseen challenges faced by his team, who aspire to create 10,800 homes on the site. The project exists in conjunction with an overground rail extension from Barking, to a new station in the midst of the development.

Matt gave his insight into how the history of the area can shape a development, and its importance in creating a sense of place identity. The ex-industrial area boasted a coal power station which has since been demolished, leaving behind an underground network of live cables, which was complicated to move. While challenging to overcome, an appreciation of these elements can create community cohesion, and can make a good development great.

Barking BBB article image

The former power station at Barking Riverside.

More common issues presented significant obstacles as well. For example, the ecology team were determinedly chasing a family of water voles over the course of a year, which were subsequently placed in a ‘water vole hotel’, before being relocated to Devon. Flooding concerns perhaps gave way to the most monumental obstacle in the development, with new legislation requiring the entire land to be raised by 4 metres, across 180 hectares.

Despite some obstacles, at its core the project is really about creating a community, including affordable housing, new businesses, schools and hospitals. Whilst some of the obstacles seem formidable, there is a wealth of benefits for the future residents once completed.

A big thank you to Matt for the presentation.

Article written by Joseph Beviss, Intern.