Local Plan recommended for approval with 3,000 homes in Rainham and Beam Park despite station doubt

Construction of homes is ongoing at Beam Park

Construction of homes is ongoing at Beam Park, which sits on the border of Havering and Barking and Dagenham - Credit: Alastair Lockhart LDRS

Thousands of new homes in Rainham and Beam Park are included in Havering's Local Plan despite uncertainty over whether a train station will be built.

Following a review by the Planning Inspectorate, cabinet members have recommended the plan, which sets out proposed development in the borough from 2016 until 2031, be approved by the full council.

The document says Havering will deliver at least 3,000 homes in the area in the first 10 years of the plan, as well as a commercial centre adjoining Beam Park station.

However, as reported by the Recorder last month, the Department for Transport (DfT) has never supported the station project.

City Hall has pledged £43million to its construction, but the DfT wants to "be held immune" from the project's financial risk.

At the cabinet meeting on November 10, Labour group leader Keith Darvill raised the station's inclusion within the Local Plan and "the obvious knock-on effect" to meeting housing numbers if it does not go ahead.

Assistant director of planning Helen Oakerbee said she was "comfortable" with the Local Plan's adoption because no final decision on the station had been made.

She also said a "refresh" of the Local Plan would begin next year and suggested the council would review its housing trajectory if a decision to scrap the station was made after the plan's adoption.

She said: "The position from officers is, at this stage, there isn't a no to the station and the station is funded.

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"Clearly if a decision was taken [not to build the station], that may influence choices that developers and investors have to bring forward development in that part of the borough."

Ms Oakerbee said the potential remained to build homes in Rainham and Beam Park without the station.

"Whether or not that's the same level as we've anticipated, clearly that would need to be worked through."

The Planning Inspectorate published its final report on the plan last month, concluding it was "sound" - subject to modifications being made.

Consultation on the plan began in 2015 and Havering submitted it for inspection in March 2018. The length of time taken to reach adoption has caused some frustration.

Council leader Damian White said: "The forensic approach adopted by the Planning Inspectorate has led to significant delays and challenges with our Local Plan."

The plan includes the delivery of almost 19,000 homes during its 15-year period.

The Romford strategic development area will feature 5,000 of these over the plan's first ten years.