Former civil service head to lead inward investment company

by Marco Cillario Tue 14 March 2017, 11:44 am

A former head of the civil service has been appointed as chair of the board of Be First, a Barking and Dagenham Council-owned regeneration company aimed at attracting investment to the borough.

Be First will invest to improve infrastructure and home delivery in Barking and Dagenham.

The appointment of Lord Bob Kerslake was announced today (14 March) at global property conference MIPIM, in Cannes.

Set up in November 2016, Be First will be operational from autumn 2017. It is expected to attract funding to the borough, as well as investing to improve infrastructure, create homes and generate jobs.

Speaking at MIPIM, Councillor Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “Lord Kerslake was a giant in central and local government and an expert in housing and now he will be chairing what will be a regeneration giant. 

“Bringing in Lord Kerslake and creating Be First will put rocket boosters on our drive to make Barking and Dagenham a magnet for tens of thousands of affordable quality homes and well paid jobs for ordinary, aspirational Londoners.” 

A spokesperson for the local authority said the company will be “commercially driven, but wholly owned by the council”, with representatives from Transport for London and the Greater London Authority on its board.

“Barking and Dagenham is already known as one of the capital’s hottest investment areas and promises huge opportunities for further growth,” said Lord Kerslake, who was head of the civil service from 2012 to 2014. 

“I am hugely looking forward to helping Darren making sure this eastern promise is delivered for the benefit of all residents.” 

Appointments to the board of Be First should be completed by the summer, with the recruitment of a chief executive expected by May. 

The council’s existing regeneration, planning and capital delivery staff will transfer to the new organisation.

The company is expected to start trading in October 2017.

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