Last night the Dover’s Corner development proposals went before Havering Council’s Planning Committee. The proposals are part of the Beam Park development masterplan which will eventually see Beam Reach transformed, delivering thousands of new homes. The first phase includes over 500 new properties on Dover’s Corner – which some may know as the Somerfield Site.
Many local residents contacted Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham voicing their concerns over the plans, and in response Jon sent one of his representatives Chris Freeman along to the planning meeting to raise the issues. Jon’s statement (below) was officially submitted at the meeting.
“Over the course of the last year many of my constituents have contacted me regarding their concerns over the proposed development on Dover’s Corner. The biggest concern raised is over insufficient infrastructure in the local area, which is a concern that I share. Local health provision has been in decline due to systematic cuts in recent years and is currently overstretched in dealing with existing residents, the increase in population that over 500 new properties will bring could have a detrimental effect on already struggling services.
“In conjunction with this there is also a concern over school places that my constituents have raised. I understand that Havering is currently increasing the capacity of many of its local schools including Parsonage Green and others. However I would like residents’ concerns regarding school capacity, and how an increase could be detrimental to the standard of teaching, to be noted in the consideration of these plans.
“There is also the issue of increased traffic associated with new residents and increasing school runs. Much of my casework across Havering stems from deteriorating roads and a lack of investment in street care and highways maintenance. The development on Dover’s Corner would undoubtedly worsen the condition of roads in the area, so on behalf of the residents I would ask that before these plans are set in stone that the surrounding roads are looked at and considered for regeneration.
“Stemming from this issue is the location. Many residents have also highlighted the insufficient crossing facilities near La Salette School which is situated adjacent to the proposed development area. This could lead to an increase in the likelihood of accidents involving children. Therefore I would ask that road safety in the area be looked at in detail also.
“As the local Member of Parliament covering Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch and Elm Park; on behalf of my constituents I object to these plans in their current format. I am urging the council to consider more investment for infrastructure prior to signing off any new projects that may jeopardise existing services, and current resident’s quality of life.”
Persimmon homes, the company that are overseeing the development provided assurances that social infrastructure would receive large amounts of support and investment further down the line as the Beam Park project reaches its next phase. Plans include a new two-form primary school, extensions to existing schools, a new health centre and community facilities. Persimmon are also proposing an investment of £500,000 to the London Borough of Havering in order to create a parkway along the old A13 (New Road) in order to provide a buffer, creating safer crossing conditions.
Whilst these assurances are welcome Jon Cruddas highlighted that the situation will need to be monitored, and that although the area is set for investment in infrastructure, the current provisions are not adequate for a development of this size. A vote was held at the planning meeting where members voted 6 – 4 to defer the decision on giving the plans the go-ahead.