Beam Parkway green corridor plan scrapped

The planned transformation of an industrial area of south Hornchurch into a people-friendly “green corridor” is no longer going ahead.

Havering Council planned to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to buy 97 properties on New Road, a key transport link to the 3,500 home redevelopment of Rainham and Beam Park.

The scheme, named Beam Parkway, would have replaced a number of businesses along the road with new homes and a 2km “linear park” featuring “enhanced walking and cycling facilities”.

However, council leader Damien White has now announced he is dropping the CPO after Transport for London withdrew £5million in funding and due to “difficulties” surrounding plans to create a new station nearby.

The leader said: “It seems Havering is once again losing out after working so hard to try and build better homes and communities for its residents.

CGI of improved cycle and pedestrian routes on Beam Parkway

“We are doing everything we can to get back on track with these schemes because of the opportunity this part of the borough offers to provide homes and jobs for our residents. As a borough we need investment in our infrastructure and housing.

“However, every time we think things are moving the right way, like a boxer, we get another knock down and have to pick ourselves up.”

Due to poor public transport links, less than half of the 3,500 planned homes in the Beam Park regeneration scheme will be built if the station does not materialise.

The Department for Transport says it warned the Greater London Authority (GLA) – who are leading the Beam Park scheme – that the business case for the station was “very poor” in 2017.

The DfT claims it did not hear from the GLA again for another two years while construction plans for the scheme went ahead, a claim the GLA has not denied.

It is now demanding complete financial immunity from any losses the new Beam Park station would create by drawing passengers from nearby stations.

Graham Williamson, councillor for South Hornchurch, said Havering Council had undervalued the land they wished to purchase through the CPO by millions of pounds

He added: “The council (and the GLA) gambled that the station would be approved as it would increase built property values and thus attract developers.

“However, they never admitted this and were happy to approve planning applications knowing full well the station was not guaranteed.”

Leader of the Independent Residents’ Group, Ray Morgan said: “Not only is the New Road regeneration in jeopardy and a Plan B likely necessary, council finances will take a hit both in costs and loss of planned for profits.

“Frankly, they only have themselves to blame and should have locked in the station before approving planning applications.

“Havering Council’s initial lack of due diligence around the robustness of delivering a station, must not be overlooked.”

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Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter