Willmott Dixon’s private rental company Be:here has taken its pipeline of PRS homes in London to over 1,300 after agreeing a deal with Estates & Agency Group to develop circa 650 units in Barking.

Be:here has agreed to acquire 3.88 acres of the approximately 9 acre Abbey Retail Park site from Estates & Agency Group to develop and manage the purpose built private rented homes, subject to obtaining the relevant planning consent. The site is located in the heart of Barking on Abbey Road, situated a short walk to Barking’s mainline and London Underground station.

Estates & Agency Group received planning consent last year to develop a new Sainsbury’s store on the rest of the site, with demolition works on the new store set to start next month. The regeneration of the entire site will create a vibrant new community in Barking and become a key part of the area’s transformation as a place that attracts a new generation of people.

This latest deal for Be:here comes as the first of its 158 purpose-built homes in East India are about to become available for private renters at the Aberfeldy Village development, with over 500 registrations of interest already. The online letting and management platform that be:here will use as its key interface with tenants, an industry first for the UK PRS market, will go live in the next month.

Construction at be:here’s development of 132 homes at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes is now well underway and will be complete next Spring, while at Kew Bridge the company has over 330 units at the Brentford FC stadium masterplan, which will be one of the biggest simultaneous developments of homes for sale and private rent in London when construction starts next year.

Each of these developments is tailored at the ever growing number of young professionals who want to live in convenient locations close to central London but are frustrated with the poor quality of service that renters are getting from much of the buy-to-let stock available.

Andrew Telfer, chief executive of Willmott Dixon’s development division, says, “Barking is a key milestone in be:here’s plans to create vibrant rental communities at scale across London and other major cities. What’s unique for us is that we will be the long-term operator of the apartments first and foremost, so our presence over many years means we have a keen interest in the success and growth of the wider community in central Barking.”

John Rosefield, Estates & Agency Group Chairman, said “The agreement with be:here is the next stage of realising the vision for the site’s regeneration. Over the next few years there will be transformational change in this area of Barking, creating hundreds of new homes and jobs. Barking is a great place to invest and Estates & Agency Group is delighted to continue to be playing our part in the town’s ongoing regeneration.”

Iceni Projects is lead consultant on the project, supported by Broadway Malyan, architects, and i2 as development managers. Work will now start on a planning application, with the aim to be on site early in 2016. It is anticipated that the first homes will be available to rent in 2018.