Ten out of Ten for persistence awarded to cllr Sheldon over his examination into the possibilities of development of the Blinking Owl site in the North of the Borough.
When the possibilities were first brought to public attention a senior Castle Point Council Officer dismissed the possibility of development at the site as being unfeasible.
The Officers response in the Echo report this time around was less certain.
A major drawback though will be seen as the identification of there being 80 landowners to be brought together for the scheme to work.
A Planning Inspector would also need convincing that this is a possibility.
Some land owners may be reluctant to sell, others may feel their land of more value than others.
No doubt cllr Sheldon is wrestling with the desire to keep Mainland ward residents happy and feels that by selecting this site for development, being on the edge of the populated area, this may go someway to achieving this desire.
The land could be described as previously developed, although not to the extent of its whole area. This may not sit comfortably with an Inspector.
However a major drawback could be the site’s Green Belt status and the functions it fulfils.
Its situation sees it fulfill the function of separating Rayleigh from Castle Point. It also can be argued that it performs the same function with Basildon.
This has repercussions with the Glebelands proposal.
If Glebelands Appeal is successful and Castle Point Council were to support the Blinking Owl proposal the whole Green Belt along the western edge of the Borough will be susceptible to development, from the A127 to the A13!
The debate has now opened up to finding sites for development that cause less confrontation to the least number of people.
Previously this has been based on who can defend themselves least democratically wise, namely Canvey Island.
We do not feel that Canvey Island Green Belt sites are any safer under the current policies advanced by our Authority under the Local Plan than they were for the Core Strategy. So we continue to prepare to defend the over development of the Island.
On the face of what little news that emerges on the sites for development it appears that the Mainland electorate is the priority to protect, but are the principles any better?
Can the Blinking Owl site be considered any sounder than any other site? It is still Green Belt with similar protection as other sites. Worse still without a developer, with only a matter of months before the Local Plan should be published.
Residents were PROMISED by senior Councillors that by having a 5-year housing supply the Green Belt would be protected.
Does the site selection included within the 5 year supply make the residents around Jotmans Farm feel confident that Persimmon’s proposal will be turned down when they go to Appeal?
How confident can we be that the 5 year housing supply will convince the Inspectorate not to allow the Glebelands Appeal?
We will soon learn!
Remember that was the purpose of announcing the 5 year housing supply, in advance of an up to date evidence base.
Personally I fear for the Borough’s Green Belt.
Sites selection must make sense.
Is the Blinking Owl anymore sustainable than a site near a Town Centre or Railway Station?
Possibly being close to the major road networks that would take commuters efficiently away from Castle Point may be viewed as an asset point.
It is obvious though with the condition of the A127 and it’s ability to handle the current volumes of traffic urgent upgrading work must be put in place.
Are there any plans in place for this? No plans for this have appeared in the Local Plan evidence base to suggest improvements are in the pipe line yet.
Going public and referring to the Blinking Owl site gives a worrying clue that the Authority accept they cannot defend the Green Belt.
If Localism was able to offer the protection necessary then our Council could be expected to receive a sympathetic response from the Government. It appears the Council have given up on this course of defence.
They also appear to have given up on defending the numbers of population that can be expected to migrate to the area.
It may well be that without a radical plan and proposing population numbers that residents will support, accepting that Green Belt will be lost forever is an inevitability.
The dopportunity to receive the new housing bonuses into the Council coffers appears an irresistible desire.
The Authority will contend their position dictates they have to make difficult decisions. Previously the Mainland Group hid behind the selection of Canvey’s Dutch Village Green Belt site as the large development proposal in the Borough’s Core Strategy.
This they hoped would protect the votes in the Mainland wards.
That document was a failure.
Now the Authority are faced with naming Mainland Green Belt sites. They first chose previously developed sites hoping that argument would convince the Inspectorate and appease the electorate.
The unrest at the recent Polls has made them look elsewhere for other less contentious sites.
If they feel that the Blinking Owl is the site that causes least unrest, fair enough.
But they will have to convince other developers and an Inspector that the evidence behind their site selection is fair, just and sound.
Unless increasing population numbers the loss of Green Belt and infrastructure issues are addressed, massive repercussions lay ahead for the Authority, the Borough and residents!
The hardest thing for residents and especially Councillors to admit to themselves, and I definitely don’t aim this specifically at Cllr Sheldon, is whether they support certain sites for development because they are the most sound and sustainable sites in the Borough, or because they cause them least discomfort by being out of their own locality.
- Blinking Owl, and Cllr Sheldon opens a can of Green Belt worms!
- Glebelands Appeal Update.
- Showing little respect to the Planning Inspectorate, may well prove expensive for Castle Point’s Green Belt
- Any links between CPBC Cabinet Membership selection, UKIP result and the Glebelands Appeal result?
- A case for reviewing the housing need in Castle Point and still achieving a “sound” Local Plan! !
- Blinking Owl, and Cllr Sheldon opens a can of Green Belt worms in Castle Point!: wp.me/p2gcCE-iC via @wordpressdotcom 17 hours ago
- Glebelands Appeal Update.: wp.me/p2gcCE-iu via @wordpressdotcom 2 days ago
- Showing little respect to the Inspectorate may prove expensive for Castle Point's Green Belt : wp.me/p2gcCE-in via @wordpressdotcom 6 days ago
- Any links between CPBC Cabinet Membership, UKIP result and the Glebelands Appeal result?: wp.me/p2gcCE-ig via @wordpressdotcom 1 week ago
- A case for reviewing the housing need in Castle Point and still achieving a sound Local Plan! !: wp.me/p2gcCE-i7 via @wordpressdotcom 1 week ago