'We need it to be built': Uncertainty over future of Beam Park station
Michael Cox and Alastair Lockhart, local democracy reporter
- Credit: Alastair Lockhart LDRS
The proposed building of a new train station in Beam Park has been thrown into doubt.
It was planned as part of the £1billion regeneration scheme being built on the border of Havering and Barking and Dagenham, which will feature 3,000 homes when complete.
The station would be managed by train operator c2c and sit between Rainham and Dagenham Dock on the line between London Fenchurch Street and Grays.
But the future of the project has become uncertain.
This paper has seen a document which is allegedly a letter sent by the Department of Transport (DfT) to c2c.
It appears to confirm that DfT will not support the project going forwards - but this newspaper was unable to verify its authenticity.
The DfT did not acknowledge the contents of the correspondence when asked by this paper and c2c said it had not received a letter from the DfT, but claimed the DfT had sent one to the Greater London Authority (GLA).
A spokesperson for the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said City Hall has committed £43million towards delivering the station, including a ten-year indemnity to protect the DfT against any expected operational deficit.
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They called the DfT's decision not to provide its support as "extremely disappointing", adding: “The new rail station at Beam Park is critical for unlocking the construction of thousands of new homes and wider regeneration in this part of London.
"City Hall and partners are in ongoing discussions with DfT to agree a way forward for this important project.”
A DfT spokesperson said it had not withdrawn any funding for the station as the project was due to be funded by the GLA.
They said: "Our concern is to ensure taxpayers are appropriately protected from the financial and operational risk associated with a new station at Beam Park.
"The GLA’s current financial offer does not do this in full. The DfT is committed to provide better connectivity whilst demonstrating that an investment provides appropriate value for money for taxpayers and balances the needs of all passengers on the route."
The whole development is due to be completed in 2030 and is being delivered by developer Countryside and housing association L&Q.
As well as the thousands of homes, it is also set to feature two schools, retail space, a park, a gym, a nursery and a multi-faith centre.
Residents began moving into homes at Beam Park last year and Jon Cruddas, its constituency MP, has launched a campaign calling on the government to deliver the station.
He said: "This is a complete betrayal of all the commitments and promises to those people who have and are currently buying homes on the Beam Park development."
Andrew Monk was one of the very first residents to move in – he had expected the station to be open within 12 months.
He said: “We knew the station was due to be built – it was part of the advertising.
“We knew this would take time, but it was certainly to be in the first year.
“We’ve invested a lot into the area – this property wasn’t cheap. We need the station to be built.”
Vincent Corbett, who moved into Beam Park just two weeks ago, said he bought his new home under the impression that the station would be available.
He said: "There’s going to be a huge number of people [in Beam Park] – transport is very important."
The letter purportedly sent by the DfT said it encourages a public transport review for the areas around Rainham and Dagenham Dock stations.
A c2c spokesperson said: "We are keen to work with local partners to help ensure there is good access for local residents to our existing stations.
"We fully understand how important it is to provide sufficient capacity from Rainham and Dagenham Dock stations.
"We are monitoring train loadings closely and these currently remain considerably below pre-Covid levels.
"We have already ordered additional trains which are currently under construction and these are due to arrive and enter service next summer."
Additional reporting by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.