Residents’ shock as Beam Park station plan cancelled

Barking and Dagenham residents have expressed their disappointment about the government’s “shocking” decision to pull funding for a station in their area.

The new station was planned to be part of a multimillion pound development at Beam Park.

Many new residents moved into the still under construction area over the last two weeks.

They say they were under the impression that the local station would soon be open.

Andrew Monk was one of the very first to move into the development – he said he had expected the station to be open within 12 months of moving in.

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.

“It’s bad news that the government has withdrawn support.”

“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 that he had bought his new home under the impression that the station would be available.

He said: “My wife works in central London and we judged the location because we knew the station would be built quickly

“It’s difficult to travel to Central London.”

He added: “I don’t understand why they are cancelling the station. There’s going to be a huge number of people [in Beam Park] – transport is very important for people.

“The government is trying to stop people using cars to get on public transport but if it’s not easy, it’s hard to convince people to use public transport.”

Another resident who did not want to be named moved into the area just one week ago and did not hear that the station would not be built until after they arrived.

They said that when they spoke to the developers about the station before buying their new home: “100 per cent it was always a thing. It’s shocking, you know? It comes across as quite misleading.”

Once completed, Beam Park will boast over 3,000 new homes, with half designated as affordable housing.

However, local MP Jon Cruddas said last week that the Department for Transport had pulled funding for the new station.

The DfT has since rejected this claim, stating that more funding is needed from the Greater London Authority.

The new station was billed as a key feature of the area by developers Countryside and L&Q, and many residents bought homes in Beam Park expecting easy train access to the rest of London.

Mr Cruddas slammed the decision to abandon plans for Beam Park station after it was revealed that the station was planned to be fully funded by the GLA and developers, and that the GLA had offered the Department for Transport £10 million to protect the government against the costs of the station.

He said: “This discovery blows the whole situation wide open. We now know that the delivery and ongoing cost of a new station poses no financial risk for the government, yet they have withdrawn approval for the scheme, throwing the development of thousands of new homes into contention.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office condemned the decision to pull funding for the station, adding that the GLA would work to move ahead with the plans.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said the GLA had committed £45 million to deliver the station.

They added: “This position by the Department for Transport is extremely disappointing, but City Hall and partners are in ongoing discussions with DfT to agree a way forward for this important project.”

However, the DfT rejected responsibility for the decision, arguing that the GLA must do more to cover the costs of the station.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The Secretary of State never gave initial approval to withdraw. DfT’s concern is to ensure taxpayers are appropriately protected from the financial and operational risk associated with a new station at Beam Park.

“The DfT has not withdrawn any funding. This is a scheme entirely led by the GLA.”

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Alastair Lockhart

Local Democracy Reporter