The inevitable Axe fell upon the Paddocks Community Centre, the fatal blow delivered by Castle Point cabinet on Tuesday 16th October 2018.
Following an overwhelming business and cost based case, put by cllr Stanley, standing in for cllr mumford, it became quickly and obviously apparent that the fate of the existing building was inevitable.
It is at this stage Canvey residents must remember how during last winter cllr smith explained during the last Canvey Community meeting, (these meetings are getting rarer), how a new build would be financed by Housing or Flatted development on the Paddocks site.
Also to be remembered are these points from the January 2018 cpbc cabinet agenda:-
A. “The conclusion of feasibility work reveals that the Paddocks Community Centre building has reached the end of its design life and is beyond economic repair.”
B. “The feasibility work shows however that it is possible to construct a new community facility immediately to the south-east of the existing building. This could potentially provide a reception area, café and seating area, kitchen and servery, WCs and a flexible meeting space sufficient to accommodate three separate hall each 15m by 10m, or one larger hall measuring 15m by 30m.”
C. “The new layout would also allow the future redevelopment of the Paddling Pool facility for enabling development with potential access from Clifton Road to the west.”
D. “Finally it would be possible to re-configure the car parking layout across the whole site, to provide an indicative capacity of approximately 380 spaces. This compares to an existing car parking capacity at the site of approximately 200 spaces.”
E. “The construction of a new Community Centre will be dependent on “enabling development” on other parts of the site.”
With the climate surrounding the cpbc Local Plan and the desperation to seek every last meterage of space suitable for Housing, the fate of the Paddocks was decided long ago. The economic approach of withdrawing routine maintenance from the Halls, by those who pull the purse strings at cpbc, have crudely engineered an approach that has led to the demise of the Paddocks!
Our Roving Reporter followed last night’s proceedings and gave this feedback:-
Following the Castle Point Corporate Peer Challenge in February 2018, the peer’s report mentioned the Paddocks proposal:-
“The Paddocks facility on Canvey Island is a clear example where an inclusive approach to developing the Centre will lead to joint ownership and subsequently better outcomes for the community it serves. The Peer Team heard how communities and their representatives are keen to be involved from the earliest stage to final completion, through improved communications and engagement, so that such developments can, where appropriate, be co-designed and fit for the future”
So much for community earliest stage engagement as to what was their preferred option. Cllr Smith was given a clear indication, when trying to take over a Canvey forum meeting at the Paddocks earlier in the year, as to what the community actually wanted. When pressed to do so, he stated that there would be no houses on that site, from that we should now expect to see blocks of flats. Cllr Smith promised a comprehensive consultation, little did we realise that we were going to get an opportunity to select what floor covering should be used in the foyer area.
It stands to reason now that the Paddocks site will undergo substantial housing/flatted development, not of the communities choosing, in order to pay for a new facility.
The inevitable loss of free car parking and the kiddie’s paddling pool was not highlighted in the presentation. Why was there no basic site plan drawings displayed on the excellent facilities available for exactly that in the Council chamber. It would then become quickly apparent how much of the site will be lost to development, particularly how much of the necessary car parking space would be lost during and after the whole of the site construction period.
Community hall designs are fairly standard, based on the desired occupancy factor, there is no need to engage with expensive consultants. This is very much a step in the dark, trust me I am a councillor moment, not very reassuring given the contradiction despite the well-orchestrated Cabinet presentation, and the failure to respond to some very direct questioning.
Bullied into this situation, we are now expected to feel grateful that our community hall, being in such a dilapidated state of disrepair, was not just shut down.
Noticeably cllrHoward was given no reassurance that the size of the “new” Community Centre would match that of the current facility.
It would not be unreasonable for Canvey Islanders to disengage from any consultation process altogether, what’s the point we will only get the facility that the council deem to be sufficient under the prevailing financial circumstances being dependant on the viability of a developer’s contribution.
After all the council track record of securing Sec 106 agreements is at best lamentable.
CPBC Webcast of proceedings, item 7c at approximately 59 mins 30 secs into the recording, can be viewed HERE.