The stalled plans to build a new railway station at Beam Park in East London looks to be making some progress after the surprising decision last year to refuse permission for it to open.

The station was planned back in 2014, when it was authorised by Havering Council, with the housing developer picking up some of the cost of building the station, which would then be fitted out by Network Rail and operated by C2C.

Beam Park site plan

However, and the details are still unclear, somehow along the process, the Department for Transport says that it expressed concerns about the economic viability of the station, but the local council and the housing developer – a joint venture between Countryside and L&Q, and the Greater London Authority (GLA) were under the impression that the station could still open.

Then last year, the DfT said that it wouldn’t authorise the station to open.

Since then, it’s been revealed that the GLA has committed a total of £42 million to the station, plus underwriting the cost of running it for a decade after it opens. The underwriting offer took into account that the station would open long before the nearby housing developments would be completed, and therefore the station would have fewer customers than expected until the housing is built.

Despite that, the DfT’s stated position was that the station would never be viable and that it wanted an unending offer of subsidy from the GLA to cover the running costs. Since the DfT announced its decision, there have been talks to try and unblock the problem.

A new development has occurred, and the Minister for Transport, Wendy Morton, has clarified that the station needs to show that it can generate revenue over a continuous 3-year period, although it will still be for the GLA to fund the associated operating losses with an indemnity to be agreed.

The Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White, said: “I am really pleased to see that the Minister has confirmed in her response to me that they are not ruling a station out, and are waiting for the GLA’s plans on how it can be viable.”

“Officers at the Council and the home builder Countryside have been supporting the GLA in providing the information required for this next step.”

With hundreds of people already living in Beam Park, having bought flats on the assumption that there would be a station, and a planning clause blocking more flats being built until the station opens — a lot hinges on how the GLA is able to persuade the DfT that it can make the finances work.

 

In slightly related news, the property developers, Countryside and L&Q have completed the sale of 936 homes at Beam Park to Barking and Dagenham Council, of which 50% will be affordable housing and 50% market rental homes. It might be reading too much into it, but the proposed railway station does not appear on the CGI render of the estate attached to the council’s announcement.

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One comment
  1. Chris Rogers says:

    Hundreds of RAF airmen left from thereabouts to Europe at the end of the war via ship. RAF Hornchurch was nearby

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