At a special meeting held yesterday by members of the Preserve group, it was revealed that the Department of Transport has so far never approved plans for a station at Beam Park.
The Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas, recently revealed that the proposed Beam Park station was now not going ahead, which has left property developers furious as they are advertising the selling of the new builds under the guise of a planned station.
The Preserve group that focuses on over development in Havering, yesterday met to discuss the latest developments in the Beam Park station drama. The meeting was chaired by South Hornchurch Councillor Graham Williamson alongside, Jon Cruddas MP, Head of Havering Labour Councillor Keith Darvill, and Head of the opposition party Residents Association Councillor Ray Morgon.
Mr Cruddas stated from the letter he has received from the Department of Transport by the Minister who is dealing with Beam Park, that it was not a case that the funding for the station was withdrawn, it was a case of the funding was never given in the first place.
The letter states:
“There appears to be a misunderstanding at the Greater London Authority about the Department’s position regarding Beam Park Station.
We were aware through published strategy and planning documents of the proposals for a new local authority promoted station at Beam Park but had not been asked to participate in formal discussions prior to December 2017,when the GLA sought a meeting with us.
We gave advice and guidance at this meeting as to how to progress with the business case, that was already signalled then as being “very poor”, whilst highlighting the need to involve the Department of Transport as a key stakeholder going forward.
I would therefore take this opportunity to emphasise it is not that the Department withdrew support or funding for the development of the station,but that support was never given in the first instance.”
Councillor Keith Darvill stated that this would now have serious consequences for the borough and that without the correct infrastructure in place, residents would suffer and businesses would unlikely be attracted in coming to the area now that the station plans have been shelved.
Councillor Williamson added that with the 188 properties already built, the repercussions across the area would be vast and extremely damaging for Havering.
The proposals for Beam Park station began back in 2009 when talks first began with Network Rail. It is believed that the plans had passed three initial stages of approval, despite no backing from the Department for Transport.
“We’ve all been misled, we expect to be told the truth, yet we have never seen any report to show the infrastructure risk failure,” said Councillor Williamson.
Mr Cruddas added:
“The London Borough of Havering were the prime movers in this, then the GLA. This has huge implications, what confidence can the private sector have in Havering?”
Opposition Leader Councillor Ray Morgon said that the council had to take responsibility in this and that the current council lack scrutiny and are very secretive.
Councillor Morgon also went on to say that a review of our current housing target needs to be addressed urgently with realsiitic targets put into place.
Councillor Williamson then went on to say that he is now calling for the leader of the council to resign following this ongoing failure and the huge disappointments it is causing for Havering.
All the councillors and MP’s backed the call for the leader of the Council to now resign.
In response Havering’s Council Leader, Councillor Damian White told the Havering Daily:
“Any suggestion that I, or the council are to blame for the Department for Transport’s decision to not agree to a Beam Park station, is disingenuous and playing politics. Rather than working with us, the Preserve group have quite clearly decided to go for votes. We have never lied or made false promises. It is absolutely our expectation that there will be a new station at Beam Park, and we feel just as let down by this decision as everybody else.
“This is GLA land and they have the funding for the new station and are therefore leading on the station project and the area is designated for regeneration. It is also included in the London Plan. In fact, the original Beam Park development application was turned down by the Council on height and was called in and agreed by the Mayor of London.
“However, we have already met with the Dft, GLA and other Government departments and work is being done to find a solution as this station is important to unlock further investment in the area. It is clear in the letter to Jon Cruddas from the Department of Transport that they have not aimed blame at the council. The Preserve group would rather mislead the public and throw stones than work with us to fix the issue. I feel it is for them to explain their actions especially as they have been privy to decisions until now.”