Havering’s Raphael park is in an urban setting. Lying on a busy road, there are good links with central Romford with ample car parking immediately opposite. Its principal feature is a lake. The paths have a good surface with many benches, mostly in good condition. Tree cover means there’s plenty of shade. Also in the park is a Turkish restaurant with al fresco dining. A pleasant experience without being outstanding.
Sitting on a lakeside bench gives a view of houses whose gardens sweep towards the lake. I wondered what impact the public’s investment in Raphael Park had on Lake Rise’s house prices. The surveillance society meant finding out was easy.
Two houses, virtually opposite each other, were sold in the recent past. 21 and 22 Lake Rise vividly illustrate the private benefit flowing from public investment. Number 21 was sold in August, 2018 for £780,000, whilst 22 went for £850,000 in June, 2019. There are 18 photos illustrating number 22. Three show the lawn sweeping down to the lake. Raphael Park is being monetised for lake view houses. Number 22 has a 9% premium over 21 because of the view.
Maintaining parks is costly and is therefore a political decision for the Council. George Osborne’s Age of Austerity attacked Havering’s revenue base,` meaning there were many hard decisions about spending priorities. The untaxed profit made from buying and selling houses like those in Lake Rise is an anomaly which needs to be addressed.