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Pocket-park designed by residents opens in Barking

The park was designed around four themes: exercise, play, growing and contemplation (Credit: Be First)

A pocket-park designed by local residents has opened in Barking today.

Phoenix Park is based in the Gascoigne neighbourhood which is currently being redeveloped.

The pop-up park, which opens today, features a stage, gym corner, seating area, play area, large feasting table and growing plot.

Gascoigne Residents’ Forum, Be First, engagement specialist Urban Symbiotics, landscape architects Fabrik, and construction firm Wates Residential have collaborated to create the grassroots project.

Its design is based around four themes identified by local residents. These are exercise, play, growing and contemplation.

An artist’s impression of the park (Credit: Be First)

Be First board member and New London Architecture curator, Peter Murray said: “BeFirst is delivering lots of new homes for the borough but is also focusing on great spaces between the buildings that people can enjoy.

“This is a fantastic inclusive project which has produced a great pocket park at the heart of a pioneering redevelopment of the Gascoigne neighbourhood.”

Ayesha Riaz of the Gascoigne Residents’ Forum said: “It was fabulous to work on the pocket park and especially now we’re coming out of lockdown as I met so many people from the forum I hadn’t met before.

“This is what this park is all about – bringing people together.”

Operations Director for Wates Residential, Adrian Fennessy said : “To us, construction is more than just building, it’s also a chance for us to positively impact the communities where we operate.

“As a contractor of Be First, it’s a pleasure for the Wates Residential team to work in collaboration with all the key partners and most importantly the Gascoigne Residents Forum to create this space, it has been an experience that Wates Residential and its supply chain have been proud to be part of.

“This park demonstrates great social value, right from the co-design, the hours that residents have volunteered and the donations of time and materials from the Wates supply chain, for example the storage unit, the gym tyres and much more.”

Phoenix Park Launch Festival is being held for Gascoigne residents on Saturday, 26 June between 12pm-4pm.

An open exhibition with display boards will also be available throughout this month as part of the launch.

This Wednesday, online panel discussions will take place at 6pm-7.30pm involving residents, Be First, Fabrik, Urban Symbiotics and Wates Residential.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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