Havering considering legal action against government over Beam Park, MP claims

Dagenham and Rainham Labour MP Jon Cruddas. Picture: HM Government.

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said in a Westminster Hall debate that he had been told the council had instructed its lawyers to look into legal action. - Credit: Archant

Lawyers have been instructed to look into legal action against the government’s decision not to back the proposed Beam Park station, according to a local MP. 

The station has been promised for years as part of a £1billion regeneration scheme on the border of Barking and Dagenham. 

Construction of homes is ongoing at Beam Park

Construction of homes is ongoing at Beam Park, which sits on the border of Havering and Barking and Dagenham - Credit: Alastair Lockhart LDRS

However, last autumn, it emerged that essential support had never been acquired from the Department for Transport, which has concerns about the station’s business case and has made its approval conditional on its complete immunity from the project’s financial risks.

On Tuesday, January 11, parliamentarians discussed the matter in a Westminster Hall debate, secured by the Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas. 

He said: “I am told that Havering Council has instructed lawyers to consider a judicial review against the Department for Transport decision, legally challenging its own government, which is quite a state of affairs.” 

Havering Council leader Cllr Damian White said the borough had “looked at every option possible” to make sure the project went ahead, but denied lawyers had been instructed to judicial review the Department for Transport’s decision. 

Mr Cruddas urged the government to reconsider its decision not to support the construction of a station at Beam Park, saying he feared there would be “long-lasting effects that will inhibit future economic development and undermine community support for future regeneration". 

People have already moved into homes on the Beam Park development, bought on the assumption that the station was a certainty; some of these homeowners are themselves considering legal action

Wendy Morton, parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, responded that appropriate scrutiny of railway projects was necessary in order to protect taxpayers and said claimed department’s concerns about the viability of the project had been made clear to the GLA since it was first consulted. 

She emphasised that the department had not withdrawn support for the station as support had never been given, adding: “If the GLA is satisfied that the new station presents value for money and is an acceptable use of public funds, the department’s position is to look for a commitment to hold the department immune from any financial risk we believe the new station presents."

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Romford MP Andrew Rosindell asked that the minister re-examine the proposals and meet with him, Mr Cruddas, and the leaders of Havering and Barking and Dagenham Councils, which gave planning permission for the project. 

Ms Morton agreed to meet the two MPs, but said “early indications” were that the post-Covid situation worsened the case for a station at Beam Park.