The Greater London Authority projects population growth in Barking & Dagenham of 88,050 people by 2050, equivalent to 43.4 percent growth from the 2015 population estimate! The Council has ambitions for growth which exceed the GLA growth predictions.
This growth will build on many changes in the demographics of the borough in recent decades. These changes have, in turn, driven huge changes in demand for religious meeting places which present significant challenges for the council’s planning team.
Purpose of Study
Through extensive engagement, physical surveys and analysis, the study sought to:
- develop profiles of principal faith communities;
- carry out an audit of existing places of worship and other faith facilities; and
- carry out a needs assessment of faith facilities, taking into account existing and projected future needs.
Likely Future Demand
The study broke new ground in calculating likely future demand for religious meeting places. This was done by producing ethno-religious population projections and then applying fieldwork data on faith facility size to predict future demand to 2050 in spatial units (square metres).
On the basis of these projections, an approach to implementing faith facilities in new developments, through a Community Needs Assessment, was developed in conjunction with the Council.
Potential Future Supply
The existing needs and likely future demand point to a substantial need for additional supply. We recommended a multi-pronged approach to meeting need., including:
- retention and intensification of use of existing faith facilities;
- increased site sharing;
- maximising use of community space;
- intensification of use in industrial and employment sites to accommodate faith facilities, where that can be done appropriately; and
- new faith facilities, both conversion of existing buildings as well as in new development.
The report, prepared by CAG in conjunction with Land Use Consultants, Dr Richard Gale (Cardiff University), Dr. Andrew Rogers (University of Roehampton), and the planning and engagement teams at LB Barking and Dagenham provides 20 recommendations on planning policy, complementary measures, and engagement. Full details are available here.