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demise of Barking town centre

Yesterday I went into Barking for the first time in months to get a haircut,I don't often go into the centre as it is not my home town ( Hornchurch) but I have worked in Barking since 1967 and I find that it is so sad that a once thriving town has now become a boarded up shop shopping centre.When I first started work our business was in what was known as Chester Terrace at the top of Park Avenue (anyone remember Albons garage before it became Eddy Grinsteads?), and even that part of Barking never had any closed shops for quite a few years. I know the weather has an affect on retail but yesterday apart form Vicarage Field the streets were desolate.As well as a lot if industry has gone even from around were we are now in North Street and there are now only two of us left.                  So sad

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Showing 11 of 11
Pam D
You're right Rob G; Barking is dead and it needs a miracle to revive it.  Even the cafes in the town centre that were doing well last year are despondent because few people are using them now.  I think the Christmas period was dire for all the traders.

Maybe when the big Asda is built it will liven things up a bit but chances are people will go there and then go home again.

The council are racking their brains for what will happen when Asda move out of the Vicarage to go into the new store; they seem to think Sainsburys will go in there but I can't see it.

I do remember Eddy Grimsteads and it was a shock the first time I realised it was no longer there, but then very little is where it used to be nowadays.
Steven I
Barking was fine until they built the Vicarage fields and the car park, it was not quite so bad when the car could drive through to the other side, but now you can only do that if you pay.
There is also the problem with picking up and setting down at the station, and what was all that roadworks about recently?  it does not seem to have achieved anything worthwhile.  My wife goes there occasionally for a look at the shops, but never stays long, and is most dissapointed .  There is a lot of building going on so perhaps in years to come it will be a different story.
Steven I
Barking market?  Hmmm!  not my cup of tea, still it jollies the place up a bit, adds a bit of life if that is what you like.
Alan B
Barking market has got worse since they put a road in cutting it in half, it has lost a lot of it's atmosphere and made it more differcult to get to from the Station.

The public are fickle and anything that put up the slightest barrier, like crossing a road, will deter them.
Rob G
My late father-in-law was a Barking man and he told me about the old market in the 1930s which was quite large,and was open on a Saturday until about 9pm.I suppose it must have dwindled post war and was restarted a fews years ago? Or was it held elsewhere?Does anybody remember if this was the case?
Rob G
As for dwindling trade i imagine everyone is trying to do do their best to improve things but folks just have not got the money. Even our prices here are very competetive but we don't have a long queue at the door!
Businesses just have to try and hang in there if they can and keep positive.
Pam D
I can't go back that far Rob G but we used to have the Broadway Market in the 50's.  It was covered in and I remember there used to be a fresh fish counter there but I can't remember a lot else.

I think it was near where the town hall is now.
Maria W
The demise of Barking Town Centre has been a long time coming. Several years ago the Barking & Dagenham Post ran an article about the astronomical rents / rates for shops in the borough. One shopkeeper had pleaded with the council to reduce the rates as the high cost was putting so many LOCAL shops out of business. His pleas fell on death ears and, as he predicted, he and many other LOCAL businesses closed up for good, in Barking, with many of them going to neighbouring boroughs where the rents/rates were more affordable.
Barking Town Centre is now left with a plethora of cheap take-aways, halal butchers, tacky pound shops, afro hairdressers, money-exchange shops & goodness knows what else. There is hardly a decent, LOCAL shop to be found in the town centre and certainly nowhere to buy good quality clothing, except for Burtons & Dorothy Perkins.  Local tradespeople's comaplaints and pleadings were totally ignored by the council and now Barking is almost like a gost town and definitely not somewhere where the LOCAL, indiginous population want to shop. Shame on Barking council and shame on the councillors who allowed a once-thriving town centre to descend into what it is today.
Maria W
Apologies for typos above and  "death ears" wasn't meant to be a pun but is, maybe, appropriate!!!
Matthew G
Business Rates are set by central government, and paid to central government (the local council simply act as an agent to collect the money and sends it immediately to Whitehall).  The council have absolutely no control over the rates that businesses pay so please stop blaming them for that!
Rob G
That;s right Matthew G  the Bussiness Rates are set by the powers that be and the council are just revenue collecters for the treasury,but some of the rents are paid to private landlords as well as the council and they can be killers for businesses.Anyone wanting to start a business in Barking would be taking on hard task and i would admire their courage to do so.We run an established (1948) and competitive outfit here but we have to watch the pennies.

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