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OPINION: Beam Park must include homes for locals

PUBLISHED: 12:30 29 August 2017

Archant

Long-awaited plans to redevelop the former Ford Assembly plant in New Road, Rainham were formally submitted last week to Barking and Dagenham and Havering councils.

This is an exciting regeneration project on an abandoned piece of brown land and it is brilliant to see money, jobs and opportunity moving east across London.

I’m also pleased to see a commitment to a new primary school, a healthcare facility, swimming pool, community facilities and a new Beam Park rail station alongside the 2,900 homes.

The Beam Park development should change the landscape at the Ford plant for the better – forever. But before we all get carried away, a few notes of caution.

Joint developers Countryside and L&Q are making a big deal out of the fact that 35 per cent of the homes will be “affordable”. To put it bluntly, that means that 65pc will be unaffordable to local residents.

Of the 35pc, 80pc will be shared ownership. Essentially that means only 140 of the homes will be available for local residents to rent. Are we happy with that?

And what guarantees do we have that the quality of the affordable housing will reach the bar we all want to see – and not follow the crying shame that is the nearby Orchard Village estate?

Finally, we need to ensure that the development works for residents living nearby. That means road and public transport upgrades and infrastructure investment for all, not just the new Beam Park residents.

This is a huge development in our community and we need to ensure that it provides local homes for local people. The most important thing now is to take a look at the plans and have your say.

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