Plans for nearly 900 homes iced as order to buy land around Beam Park is dropped
- Credit: Alastair Lockhart LDRS
Plans to buy land for new homes around the controversial Beam Park development and in Rainham have been dropped.
After receiving legal advice and consulting with the planning inspectorate, on December 2 Havering Council decided to withdraw the compulsory purchase order (CPO) it initially made in 2019.
The retraction of the CPO means an indefinite delay to the redevelopment of the area, which would have seen more than 880 homes built in partnership with Notting Hill Genesis.
Last month, the council asked the inspectorate to delay the CPO inquiry while the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Department for Transport (DfT) discussed the future of Beam Park Station, which has remained uncertain since September 2021.
However, the planning inspectorate recommended the CPO be dropped until a decision around the proposed station has been made.
A statement released by the council noted concern has been raised regarding Transport for London’s (TfL) ability to provide funds for the Beam Parkway scheme, designed to transform a busy road into a park.
The statement claimed TfL had intended to part-fund the scheme with a £5m grant, but had been unable to do so due to its financial position.
Councillor Damian White, the leader of Havering Council, said the council was “once again losing out" but doing “everything we can” to get the schemes back on track.
He said: “Every time we think things are moving the right way, like a boxer, we get another knockdown and have to pick ourselves up.
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“It is time they focused on outer London boroughs like us, rather than the more wealthy inner London boroughs.”
Beam Park station was initially included in the council’s 2016 Local Plan before being taken over in 2018 by the GLA, which picked two developers to build up to 9,000 homes around it.
In September, Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas wrote to the DfT seeking assurance after hearing rumours the station had been axed.
On October 6, transport minister Chris Heaton-Harris informed him the department had never given support for the station.
Mr Heaton-Harris has claimed the GLA were told as early as 2017 the business case for the station was “very poor” and the department had made it clear it would not approve the station unless it was held immune “in perpetuity” from financial risk relating to the project.
Mr Cruddas said the council’s decision to withdraw the CPO “puts the spotlight on their Tory government's ridiculous decision to stop the Beam Park station from being built”.
A spokesperson for the DfT reiterated its position on immunity from financial risk but said it fully supported the housing development in Beam Park.
They said the financial offer proposed by the GLA did not cover the full risk the department believes Beam Park station imports, particularly around operating loss forecasts and revenue abstraction from neighbouring stations.
A spokesperson for the mayor of London said: “City Hall are in ongoing discussions with partners to find a way forward for this important project and are in the process of carrying out further work to inform discussions with the DfT."
Despite the controversy, 3,000 homes in Rainham and Beam Park were recommended for approval in Havering Council's Local Plan in November.
It comes as a Havering Council committee heard concerns over Beam Park becoming a “dead area” without transport infrastructure.
Cllr Ray Morgan of the Havering Residents’ Association said the council “only have themselves to blame”, arguing the station should have been “locked in” before planning applications were approved.
The council entered its partnership with Notting Hill Genesis in 2018, with the proposed homebuilding programme forecasted to cost £250m.
Jake Brodetsky, joint venture partnerships director for Notting Hill Genesis, said the developer understood the decision and would work with stakeholders to “ensure the best outcome for the present and future residents of Rainham and Beam Park”.
TfL has been approached for comment.