Barking and Dagenham is one of London’s principal housing growth areas. The borough is already characterised by significant health inequalities, with the highest childhood obesity rates in England. The brief for the project recognised the significant challenges faced by the council and the opportunities presented by good-quality parks in delivering positive outcomes for communities and for the borough as a whole.

Jon Sheaff and Associates were commissioned to develop a new parks and open spaces strategy for the borough. Their proposals clearly demonstrate how socio-economic and cultural considerations have been taken into account, with strong community engagement. The project uniquely demonstrates a comprehensive strategy, shaped with full consideration for the views of residents, stakeholders and partners. It has provided the council with ‘quality trend’ information to provide a clear strategic plan across the whole portfolio. 

The work has created methodologies and applied natural capital accounting techniques with well documented research and high quality, detailed analysis, culminating in the design of masterplans for ten of the parks. The project sets a precedent for how to engage with the community and also for evidence based landscape planning at a borough level. Finally, there is a recognition of the importance of management and how long-term funding streams can be provided to ensure effective stewardship.

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