2014 Canvey Flooding – 3 Years On, and still only a Glossy Brochure offered to prevent a repeat, but offering this as Evidence in support of Housing Development in CPBC Local Plan, REALLY?

3 Full Years on, and little improvement to the Drainage System on Canvey Island, means it worthwhile updating and re-posting this blog.

Ironically it is included as part of the Castle Point 2018 Local Plan Evidence base! A document full of promises and an insight that proves Canvey Island was always intended as THE Housing Growth Area in the Borough, no matter what other mainland sites were introduced.

How CPBC can consider that a Glossy desk top published “brochure,” full of empty promises, you will recognise them in the text below, to fund a complete overhaul of the Canvey Island drainage system, is fit to be considered as Evidence Base to support such a Bad Local Plan as the latest 2018 version, is anybody’s guess!

We will leave you to make of it what you will.

And we all thought that the bid to Government for the necessary drainage improvements was for the good of the existing residents and properties of Canvey Island that were affected so badly during the 2014 flooding!

“With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.

It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.”

As we have always maintained; no improvement of infrastructure without even more development on the most densely urbanised part of our Borough.
It strikes us that the development is / was intended whether drainage, flood defence or road network improvements were to be forthcoming anyway!

Of course the distribution and allocation of any money allocated from Government may well find itself replacing / overlapping money already contributed by residents within the Council Tax allocation as Essex Highways state;
“Defects on the (Canvey) highway drainage system will continue to be addressed as resources permit.”

Screenshot (23)Canvey Island Integrated Drainage Model brochure!

The fancy multi agency Brochure, minus the graphics reads:

“Through this bid we ask central government for £24.5m, which will be used to address the deficiency in the current drainage network, and fund capital projects to dramatically improve the drainage infrastructure across Canvey Island. This investment will feed into an already comprehensive programme of works which will be delivered over the next ten years. Some projects which will be covered by this funding include:
• Property level protection from surface water flooding for 40,000 people and 15,000 homes.
• Improving the drainage infrastructure at recognised pinch points, identified by the Integrated Urban Drainage Study (IUD), to take excess rainwater from the centre of the island to the pumps located around the island.
• Increasing the storm water storage area on the island, providing areas where excess rainwater can be stored.
• Increasing the storage capacity of Canvey Lake, and re-profile the surrounding area to provide additional storm water storage capacity.
• Utilising new technology innovations to enable a much more reactive approach to deal with heavy rainfall, such as advanced weather warning systems (Rain Gain) and automatic weed-screens.
• Increasing community resilience through enhanced education, awareness and local volunteer programmes.

The approach we have taken to partnership working on the island is unique, and we believe this model allows more efficient and collaborative approaches to address the problems facing local residents. We commit to continuing this vital work and with additional government funding we can do so much more to help protect our community, protect our economy and protect our Canvey Island.

The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

The plan recommends that the defences are further improved to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate. Over the period of the plan, the Environment Agency calculates that the potential economic benefits of implementing their preferred option of flood prevention across the Thames Estuary is in the region of £200 billion when compared to doing nothing.

The majority of benefits of flood risk management in the Thames Estuary are economic; namely the avoidance of damage to property, infrastructure, transport and business investment.

Within the Government’s Autumn statement last year, it was announced that the government ”has published its six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at Spending Round 2013. It has also allocated an additional £60 million to the Thames Estuary Asset Management scheme beyond 2021, subject to business case and local partnership contributions.”

Our ask
Securing the future of the Thames Estuary
To find out more about our plans to better protect Canvey Island, or to contact us, please visit http://www.canveyflood.co.uk.

Canvey Island is the largest town in the Borough of Castle Point, comprising around 40% of the borough area, with a population of 40,000 people. Canvey is home to both the largest town centre and area of employment (Charfleets Industrial Estate) in Castle Point Borough, and is a key contributor to the local economy.

Canvey is separated from the mainland of south Essex by a network of creeks, and the reclaimed island sits around 1m below sea level at high tide, making it incredibly vulnerable to flooding from both sea and surface water.

The island has a rich history of agriculture and shipping, and was one of the country’s fastest growing seaside resorts for over forty years until the North Sea flood of 1953 devastated the island, killing 58 islanders and leading to the temporary evacuation of the 13,000 residents.

Modern sea defences now protect Canvey, with a 3.2km high concrete sea wall spanning the island’s coastline, and a series of high powered pumps built into the local drainage system.

However, on 20th July 2014, one of the most extreme rainfall events ever seen in Essex hit the island and overwhelmed the drainage network, causing widespread flooding to over 1,000 homes and businesses, and severe disruption to the local infrastructure.

These floods served as a harsh reminder of the island’s vulnerability to flooding and highlighted the ever-increasing need for further measures to protect the island’s environment, community and economy.

Since the July 2014 floods, Anglian Water, Castle Point Borough Council, Essex County Council and the Environment Agency, have formed a multi-agency partnership and have been working collaboratively on a strategy to better protect Canvey against future flood events; providing long term security for residents and businesses across the island.

To date, the group has seen great success and over £1.7m has been spent delivering a comprehensive maintenance, repair and cleaning scheme across the island’s drainage network. Along side this, a website and two community newsletters have been created to raise awareness of the ongoing work. We have now developed a long-term strategy which, with support from the government, Canvey Island is home to a tight knit community with a diverse demographic make-up.

A range of organisations have helped to deliver community infrastructure improvements over recent years; helping to increase the service offering of the island, and address some of the societal challenges faced by some pockets of the community. will deliver increased protection and security for the people of Canvey.

This new infrastructure includes; a new healthcare centre, two new secondary schools, a new vocational college, works to improve the quality of the public realm within the employment area, and the construction of the second phase of Roscommon Way, providing access to new employment land to the south of Charfleets Industrial Estate.
Protecting our community • Protecting our economy • Protecting our Canvey

CANVEY ISLAND
Introduction Strategy Protecting our Economy CANVEY ISLAND

Canvey Island is home to a tight knit community with a diverse demographic make-up.
A range of organisations have helped to deliver community infrastructure improvements over recent years; helping to increase the service offering of the island, and address some of the societal challenges faced by some pockets of the community.

PROTECTING OUR ECONOMY
With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.
It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.

We want to see more community support schemes take root on Canvey, and we appreciate that we have a role in making sure the necessary support infrastructure is in place to allow this to happen. The loss and devastation caused by flooding is tremendous and multifaceted, ranging from the social distress and disruption caused, as well as the monetary losses experienced by private individuals, businesses and the government. This includes financial costs borne by the national economy in the form of school closures and work days lost; repairs to infrastructure, including utilities and roads; inability of businesses and consumers to operate during floods; and public sector emergency response costs.

The cost of a future flooding incident on the island would be in the region of £274m per year in lost economic output, and up to £2.1bn in damage to residential property. With over 6,100 jobs already based on the island, plans submitted to the government through the South East LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), propose to create over 1,100 new jobs. Further development opportunities have also created the potential for the construction of over 1,500 new homes across Canvey.

The Essex Economic Growth Strategy highlights the numerous industrial opportunities located along the Thames riverside in Thurrock and on Canvey Island; recognising the strong growth potential in the area.
It is vital that all relevant agencies and central government work together, to ensure this growth potential is not inhibited by the significant risks associated with future flooding on the island.

Working together, we have developed an Integrated Urban Drainage (IUD) model, to establish a common understanding on the condition and ownership of the drainage infrastructure across the island. The output of this model will be used to develop a series of engineering projects, which will significantly improve the drainage infrastructure and provide property level protection across Canvey Island. The first phase of this project, jointly funded by Anglian Water and the Environment Agency, will be completed by early summer 2015.

What’s been done so far?
• We produce a regular multi-agency newsletter which is used to inform, update and educate residents and local businesses about the work currently being undertaken on the island.
• Anglian Water and Essex Highways are working closely through practical, enhanced maintenance work to repair, replace and improve the complex drainage infrastructure on the island, as well as mapping all of the drainage assets and the Surface Water Alleviation Scheme (SWAS) along the seafront.
• The Environment Agency has reviewed their maintenance, resulting in additional activities, including: extensive seawall repairs, de-silting, channel re-profiling and stand-by generator works. The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

The plan recommends that the defences are further improved to keep pace with the ever more present impacts of a changing climate. Over the period of the plan, the Environment Agency calculates that the potential economic benefits of implementing their preferred option of flood prevention across the Thames Estuary is in the region of £200 billion when compared to doing nothing.

The majority of benefits of flood risk management in the Thames Estuary are economic; namely the avoidance of damage to property, infrastructure, transport and business investment.

Within the Government’s Autumn statement last year, it was announced that the government ”has published its six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at Spending Round 2013. It has also allocated an additional £60 million to the Thames Estuary Asset Management scheme beyond 2021, subject to business case and local partnership contributions.”

The first phase of the Thames Estuary Plan 2100, prepared by the Environment Agency, states that the maintenance and improvement of Canvey’s system of large sea wall defences, is well justified given the risks to the local community and economy.

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Canvey Island need for Housing to be “flood resilient and resistant” concerns, as UK New Homes ‘crumbling due to weak mortar’.

Canvey Island, with its “Need” for 1,400 New Dwellings within the next 15 years Local Plan period, may be more reliant on the building inspection service supplied by Castle Point Council, than is the case in other local authority areas.

Any new housing development proposed for Canvey Island, being classed as a Flood Zone 3a risk and also a Critical Drainage Area, is required to pass what is known as the Sequential and Exception Test.

The Sequential Test as indicated by CPBC, “the aim of the Sequential Test is to steer new development to areas with the lowest probability of flooding”,  and applied through the CPBC Local Plan process, should mainly see development distributed away from Canvey Island.

However, CPBC do not find this approach appropriate and continue to allocate development onto Canvey.

This sees a requirement that all new Housing “development is appropriately flood resilient and resistant” against the possibility of Flooding.

With current concerns raised about the possibility that Housing Insurance against Flooding, especially New Builds, may be impossible to purchase, a New Report has emerged adding to local concerns.

Some new large building estates have been constructed using a “using weak mortar” mix. The full extent of the issue has not yet emerged as “Gagging Orders” are alleged to have been imposed on some complainants.

13 Estates across the UK have so far been identified as being affected and one by Taylor Wimpey is highlighted in the BBC report below.

Building Control, operated by the local authority areas affected, should have identified the Mortar issue and have stopped the practise in its tracks, before too many houses were affected.

Currently Castle Point Council appear to “Outsource” Building Control rather than appoint their own specialist officers.

The outsourced company handling CPBC building Control is LABC.

Whether the monitoring carried out by LABC is predominately a “desk top” service as opposed to on site testing, we are unaware, perhaps some CPBC Councillors could enlighten us.

We must assume that their monitoring and site visits would throw up any flood resilient and resistant issues, given the Flood Risk issue and the need for Housing on Canvey Island to be “safe for its Lifetime“.

Should this “Weak Mortar Mix” sharp practise, be used on Canvey housing developments it could seriously undermine the flood resilient and resistant aspect of building protection in the event of Flooding.

Equally, it could leave the Flood Re Insurance protection scheme in jeopardy locally.

In Castle Point Council, we must put our Trust!
Mortar problem

Hundreds of new properties have been built using weak mortar that does not meet recommended industry standards, the Victoria Derbyshire show has found.
There are reports of homes with the fault on at least 13 estates in the UK.
The full extent of the industry-wide problem is hard to measure as some homeowners have been asked to sign gagging orders to claim compensation.
The industry says mortar performance is a complex issue and can be affected by a number of factors.

One of those homes was owned by Vincent Fascione, 70. He says he was watching football on TV one evening in 2016 when he heard a loud cracking noise from the external walls of his house.
The next morning, he found a sand-like substance all over his front path and driveway. Photographs and video from the time appear to show growing cracks in the mortar holding his bricks together.

Mr Fascione, from Coatbridge outside Glasgow, bought his semi-detached property in 2012 for £112,500.
He complained to the homebuilder, Taylor Wimpey, and to the NHBC, the industry body that signs off and provides the warranty for most new-build houses.
‘Disastrous’
Under NHBC guidelines, mortar in most areas of the UK should be made of one part cement to 5.5 parts sand.
In severe weather areas such as Coatbridge, there should be even more cement in the mix to make it stronger and more durable.

Laboratory tests on samples taken from parts of Mr Fascione’s home showed the amount of sand was almost three times higher than recommended.
“I’m the guy who retired and decided to buy a new-build house,” he said. “I’ll never buy a new-build house again – never. It’s just been disastrous for me.”
After 18 months of complaints, the NHBC bought back Mr Fascione’s home at the market rate and he is living in alternative accommodation.

The organisation said it had done so because the performance of the company it had employed to repair the property had not been good enough and “in consideration of Mr Fascione’s personal circumstances”, not because of the original issue with the mortar.
‘Widespread and serious’
The Victoria Derbyshire Programme has heard about new build properties in at least 13 estates from Scotland to Sussex, built by different companies, with what appears to be a similar problem.

In one single estate in the Scottish borders, it is thought Taylor Wimpey has agreed to replace the mortar in more than 90 separate properties. The homebuilder says an assessment by engineers found “no structural issues” with the homes.
“This is both widespread and serious,” says Phil Waller, a retired construction manager who has blogged about the problem.
“It cannot be explained away by the industry as a few isolated cases.”

Exactly why the weaker building material may have been used is unclear.
In some cases, the housebuilder may have simply used the wrong type of mortar. In other cases, errors may have been made mixing and laying the material on site.
Some construction experts also blame the switch to a new type of factory-mixed mortar, which might pass a different strength test in the laboratory but not always be strong enough in the real world.

Steve Turner, from the Home Builders Federation, said builders “generally have their mortar provided by large accredited suppliers… [who] have clear quality assurance and testing processes to ensure mixes are delivered as required.
He added that there were “very few instances we’re aware of where defective mortar has been used”.
“And in those instances where it has been used, there’s an obligation on the builder to fix the issues.”
He added that having spoken to “a number of builders in the past week, most have had no issues with mortar whatsoever – [and with] those that have, it’s on a very limited number of sites”.

Non-disclosure agreements
Faced with what could be an expensive repair bill, many homeowners have been told by their own solicitors not to go public until the issue is resolved.
In some cases, customers have ultimately had their houses bought back by either the homebuilder or the NHBC.
In others, it appears repairs have been made and compensation paid as part of a deal that involves the signing of a non-disclosure agreement or gagging clause.
One homeowner in the north-west of England told the programme: “The only comment I can make is no comment. I’d like to speak out but at the end of the day I have to protect my investment.”
A gagging clause may stop the property owner talking not only to the media but also to neighbours in the estate who may be facing similar problems.

“It’s going on, it’s just not being talked about,” says Mr Waller.
“Non-disclosure agreements should be banned full stop. If it’s all covered up, more victims are likely to be drawn into the net and make the same mistakes.”
An NHBC spokesman said it included a confidentiality clause in a “small number of rare circumstances” but declined to disclose the number.
He added: “We work with builders to help them improve the construction quality of the homes they build. However, it is the builder who is ultimately responsible for the quality of the new homes they build.”
Taylor Wimpey apologised to Mr Fascione for the issues experienced with his home.
A spokesman said: “We are committed to delivering excellent quality homes and achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. On those occasions where issues do arise, we endeavour to resolve those issues as soon as practically possible.”

By Jim Reed
Reporter, BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme
6 December 2018

Castle Point Local Plan – the Next Move. Persuasion, Manipulation, another Vote? Constitutional “cock up” or Officer style Intervention?

Further to the debacle, that is the Local Plan making system in Castle Point, let me refer you back to the current and past plight of our Borough Council.

From the original emerging Plan, the Core Strategy 2009, withdrawn 2011, onto the Local Plan 2014 which made it into print but only as a Daft document before being abandoned, onto the 2016 Local plan officially withdrawn in April 2017, without examination via its Failure of the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring local authorities.

Sajid Javid Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced within threats of Intervention;

“On 16 November 2017 I made a statement to the House with an update on local plan progress. Up to date plans, including local plans, are essential because they provide clarity to communities and developers about where homes should be built and where not, so that development is planned rather than the result of speculative applications.

I made clear that a lack of progress will no longer be tolerated.

The Government have abolished top-down regional planning.

But a locally-led planning system requires elected local representatives to take the lead, listen to local residents and business, and set out a clear framework to build new homes, support the local economy and protect the environment.

Local plans also provide the framework within which groups can prepare neighbourhood plans to shape development at local level.

Most councils have seized the opportunity that localism provides; a small minority have not.”   

Castle Point Council as most will realise, under the threat of Government Intervention, agreed to the Secretary of State’s demand for a new Local Plan 2018 to be delivered adhering to a strict timetable.

The consequences of not doing so were made clear repeatedly by both the council leader and its chief executive.

By keeping to the schedule the “benefit” would be that Intervention may be avoided and the content would be under the control and input of local councillors.

In truth, the councillors were treated to a small number of briefings, whilst the ceo, leader and deputy and S.Rogers, consultant, Strategic Planning Regeneration, drew up the local Plan 2018.

The result was yet another Local Plan in which Housing Growth was inappropriately distributed.

Originally within the Core Strategy the growth was in Green Belt on Canvey Island, ignoring the Sequential Testing requirement of Flood Risk zones.

Then the daft 2014 Local Plan was proposed with Housing Growth on Canvey Green Belt and included a contribution on the mainland also. This came under tremendous criticism from local pressure groups and was also subsequently abandoned.

Then the 2016 Local Plan emerged with a more seemingly agreeable distribution of Housing Growth using previously developed Green Belt and regenerated Brownfield sites only. Subsequently withdrawn, although not examined.

Finally, or not as the case may be, the 2018 Local Plan at the hands of the previously mentioned cllr smith and ceo marchant.

This time Failing yet again, but due to an apparent overload of Housing Growth in the now beleaguered southern part of the Borough, that is Canvey Island (again) and this time west of Benfleet, or Jotmans Farm as it IS known!

Somewhat surprisingly the local ward representatives of Jotmans, joined alongside the “majority” of Canvey Island representatives, to reject the Local Plan 2018.

Amongst much confusion and flustered, mumbled, conversation between the CPBC ceo and leader, the vote was counted twice, almost as though it could not be believed, but both times the vote remained 16 -15 against adoption!

The Mayor was then instructed to close the Meeting!

If you don’t believe me, you can see it HERE.

However, following a Defeated Motion the CPBC Constitution directs a different, correct, approach should have been taken!

16. VOTING

16.1 Majority

Unless this Constitution provides otherwise, any matter will be decided by a simple majority of those Members voting and present in the room at the time the question was put.

For any decision to be made there needs to be a majority of Members voting in favour of the motion or recommendation.

If the majority of Members vote against the motion or recommendation, no decision has been made, and a further motion or recommendation will be invited by the Mayor.

The ceo, leader, Mayor and legal officer obviously did not want to allow the process to get away from their control by accepting an alternative Motion that may have restricted their options. Perhaps they are hoping to manipulate a repeat debate in the near future, resulting with a different result, if those dissenting councillors can be “persuaded” to relent!

smiff

No Place for Intimidation, Castle Point councillors were simply not convinced the Local Plan was acceptable or Fair. Time for an Inquiry into Behaviour!

It appears there have been reports, that following the Castle Point Council decision not to approve the draft 2018 Local Plan, certain councillor or councillors have been subjected to intimidation, basically for voting against a Local Plan they felt unacceptable.

Lead group councillors suggest they were allowed a free vote.

Firstly the chief executive made clear that in his view the Plan wasn’t for changing, and the vote must be in favour of adoption, solely to keep to a schedule set by Government.

The council leader repeated this warning as did his deputy, this was followed by many councillors stating they were between a “rock and a hard  place”, followed by the usual platitudes.

It may have been an easier passage for the Plan if rather than the sit and listen briefings, councillors from all sides had been invited to engage with the Government chief planner’s team and had some input into drawing up the Plan.

Some of the councillor’s input into the debate was nonsensical. Cllr Cole for instance explained his sympathy for the homeless people of Castle Point, families waiting to be housed. Then he went onto suggest that with Cllr smith’s inclusion of master planning developments identified for development ward councillors and residents would have influence on the density of the housing, less flats, more open spaces etc etc.

Master planning will come at a serious cost, most particularly at the likely expense of affordable and social housing!

Another councillor suggested in his 6 months of being in position he had studied and got to grips with the Local Plan process of Castle Point, all 12 years+ of it!

We have heard talk at National level of No Plan being better than a Bad Plan.

Luckily in a democracy we are allowed to say and vote accordingly, especially if we feel this is the case.

Perhaps some councillors felt that “Local Factors” still affect the cpbc Plan making process, it has before!

What the leadership and officers must remember is that they have solely been responsible for the debacle of a situation they have found  themselves in, they have voted in Favour of every single Plan put before the members and it was they that Failed the Duty to Cooperate test with the 2016 Plan, before that even reached examination stage.

For it to be claimed that the Lead group allowed a free vote on the Plan makes it all the worse that it appeared that one councillor was taken ill, possibly due to the pressure of the occasion, and another was left upset by remarks following the vote.

In a democracy it is peoples right to make up their own minds, and it is important they are allowed to do so without fear of recriminations.

Now it is important that those who have Failed us should not take the Lead should intervention occur.

The Gov. Chief Planner is fully capable of putting together an unbiased and neutral team of planners and examiners.

Perhaps this is what those so forcefully behind an approval vote fear the most.

Now following the recent posts leading up to Wednesdays meeting, we have encouraged participation through the comments column.

This time for many reasons there will be none allowed, as the saying goes, they will have to “suck it up!”

This Post is purely in appreciation of the councillors who took a brave decision in spite of the consequences and took the more difficult decision to vote, right or wrong, according to their consciences for what they felt was Right.

Those brave mainland and Island councillors are what makes this country what it is.

The rest of us must learn to live with it, or come up with a more convincing argument other than intimidation!

There is a very real case for an Inquiry into the Matter!

 

Major Shock! Castle Point gives it’s verdict – Green Belt Not Expendable at any cost and CPBC Not Trusted where Sequentially Testing Flood Risk sites concerned! Local Plan Intervention a Definite?

The meeting to consider the future moves of the CPBC Local Plan 2018 produced a major surprise Vote this evening.

The council chamber and atrium were packed, standing room only.

The chief executive, leader and deputy all warned that a vote against would mean instant Intervention by the Government Inspector via a phone call Thursday morning!

Intervention, they all said, would lead to an increase in Housing numbers, more intensive development, flats etc and more loss of Green Belt.

Councillors spoke on how they were to respond. The majority of speakers appeared to back the Local Plan before them.

However a major surprise, given that 2 CIIP members were absent and cllr Dick was taken ill during the meeting, came about when the vote went 16 – 14 against passing the Plan!

So good was the vote that council officers insisted on holding it twice!

With the same result.

The CIIP members All voted Against.

Of the Canvey Tory members cllr Blissett voted Against, whilst cllr mumford was the sole Canvey representative in Favour.

Now we must wait to see the next steps. If the Government team do allow more time to adjust the Local Plan, or whether Intervention is administered immediately, as was threatened, a case can be put forward for the leadership of the council and the senior officers to either resign or retire.

They have led this Borough into near disrepute, putting Green Belt and areas at Risk of Flooding or Hazardous incident at risk of development, chiefly by failing the Duty to Cooperate with our neighbouring councils!

Residents, not being allowed voice to speak on the night, whole heartedly rendered a:-
Baroness_Trumpington_2011

to the CPBC Leadership and senior officers.

Residents from the south of the Borough particularly, including Canvey and Jotmans Farm must accept a neutral, non political Local Plan, which we hope the Intervention team will produce.

Whether other residents and councillors in the Borough are content with thatwe shall soon see.

Baroness Trumpington 1922 – 2018

Come 2033, where will there be left to build, on Canvey Island? And the Entrapment of Castle Point Councillors

Residents of Canvey Island and of Castle Point may do well to not get their hopes up too high, where a change to the Local Plan 2018 is concerned.

Councillors, giving out signs of rebellion, are on thin ice.

As a Campaign group we took a cautious approach to the offer of involvement in a private meeting, with the cpbc leader and officers. We agreed to a combined meeting only, if it included the other Castle Point resident campaign groups, however this was rejected by the leader and therefore the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group have remained outside of the Community Involvement part of the Local Plan process, for which we have been criticised locally!

The Council members appear not to have been quite so astute!

Unless of course we, the Residents, have been misled.

Councillors have suggested being denied input or influence on the 2018 Local Plan process and yet the Agenda paper indicates quite the opposite:

4.11 Members of the Council have been engaged in the development of the New Local Plan through a series of six Member Briefings commencing in July through to November and publication of this report.

Those Castle Point Residents looking for the councillors to vote to protect the Borough from indiscriminate development of Green Belt and green field land should prepare themselves for possible disappointment.

In the past, when given the opportunity to vote For or Against the adoption of, the Core Strategy, the 2014 draft Local Plan, and the 2016 Local Plan, with feigned deep foreboding and patronising regret, a Majority did so!

Why should we expect them to act any differently this time around?

Where Transport is concerned the CPBC Agenda paperwork indicates:

“it appears that there are likely to be capacity issues at some key junctions in Castle Point, with the Woodman’s Arms junction and the Tarpots junction most affected.”

Once again let’s not suggest there is any comparable issues that might be affecting Canvey Island!

The Local Plan 2018 includes these aspirations on Transport;

the following improvements and alterations to carriageway infrastructure in Castle Point will be delivered during the plan period to 2033:

a. A127 Growth Corridor Strategy;

b. Extension to Roscommon Way Phase 3;

c. Widening of Somnes Avenue;

d. Route improvements along the A129 Rayleigh Road between the RayleighWeir and Victoria House Corner junctions;

e. Dualling of the northern section of the A130 Canvey Way in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm;

f. Minor Junction improvements at both ends of Kenneth Road;
and

g. Highway improvements in Canvey and Hadleigh Town Centres.

2. During the period to 2033, the Council will also work with partners to secure the investment necessary to deliver a new or improved access to Canvey Island.

Any of these promises sound familiar?

Canvey Island can also look forward, despite the supposed Constraints on Development, to:

Land east of Canvey Road, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 300 new homes by 2033

Land west of Canvey Road, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 253 new homes and a residential care home by 2033

Land at Thorney Bay Road, Canvey Island is expected to deliver up to 600 new homes and a residential care home by 2033.

Land at Point Road, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 100 new homes by 2033.

Land at Walsingham House, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 32 new homes by 2033.

Land at the Admiral Jellicoe, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 40 new homes by 2033

Land south of Haron Close, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 10 new homes by 2033

Land at Haystack car park, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 14 new homes by 2033

Land at Kings Park, Canvey Island, as identified on the Policies Map, is allocated for residential purposes, to deliver up to 50 new homes by 2033.

That is of course not including all of the Business development sites at west Canvey, Flats in the Town Centre, the Haystack car park, the Job Centre, Tower Radio site, the old dairy, 125-127 High Street, Venables Close Out Patients Centre Long Road and Paddocks Community Centre land, Admiral Jellicoe etc that we have heard so much of, of late!

The question is, come 2033, where will there be left on Canvey Island to develop?

This should really bring into question, the morally corrupt method of application of the Sequential Test on Canvey Island development sites, by Castle Point Council!

Add into the mix the concerns of Benfleet residents over the 900 dwellings proposed on Green Belt at Jotmans Farm and you can see the daily commute for those of us in the south of the Borough and, worse still, an Emergency Evacuation of Canvey Island, becoming a real issue!

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Castle Point Local Plan. The Pro’s and Con’s of the Great Intervention Debate, as seen by a local Councillor.

A recent post regarding the Castle Point Local Plan drew some frank insight, sometimes rare for our local councillors, into the dilemma faced by members as they consider how a vote, For or Against, the Local Plan this Wednesday might attract, or alter the Government threat of Intervention in the plan process.

We have decided to re-present mainland cllr Hart’s generous offer to us, to respond to Residents questions with his own thoughts, below:

Intro: As you are aware I am a Mainland Cllr for Castle Point Borough Council, and I hope your site members find my comments useful as I try to provide information on Council matters.

Please can I advise people to weigh up all the evidence, as I will do before I vote on the Local Plan next week.

I have been involved in the Local Plan discussion from both sides for a long time. I ask questions and consider all arguments as a Cllr and as a resident.
In regard to this current proposed Local Plan and the threat of Intervention, the threat is “very real” and it is all down to time, they want a plan in as soon as possible by us or by Inspectors, if we fall behind they will take over.
Intervention is not an opportunity to stop this plan and try to reduce housing numbers and delay the plan or start a new plan.

We are finding out more and more about this local plan week by week even at this late stage and Cllrs saw the plan the same time as it went public on Tuesday.
The proposed Local Plan is over a 20 year period and is 2000 homes below the projected housing need, (101 homes per year) so even the proposed Local Plan’s approval is not guaranteed if voted in next week.
So what does that mean and what does a No vote mean ?

A Yes vote would mean we would move forward and a public consultation and submission to an inspector.
Where it maybe approved or refused .
Inspector refusal is not likely in my opinion as Secretary of State officials are in our Council Offices overseeing our Local Plan progress and if they were not happy we would be in intervention now .

What would a NO vote mean ? It would mean intervention, probably with the continuation of this plan but possibly with the risk of an added 2000 homes to fill the short fall spread on the proposed sites with an increased density, possibly with out any say on any proposed development.
Which option is better is hard to say for definite
at this time as new information is coming out all the time.

These are my opinions and I have changed my mind back and forth on what way to vote, but if a Yes vote is acceptable to an inspector and Master Planning is allowed to be run correctly with resident involvement, not on house numbers but on most other issues it is looking a less unacceptable option than a no vote at this time.
There is not a happy solution to this situation just the lesser of two evils.
What ever the vote result it is hard times for Castle Point.
I can assure everyone that the Conservative Cllrs are free to vote how ever they wish.
I will try and answer any questions that arise on this matter.

Question;  Thanks Simon your comment is appreciated. I have heard from other Resident groups that the council leader has put much faith in master planning.

How do you envisage the requirement to utilise land by more denser development and developers so called viability in providing affordable homes issues weigh up against cpbc’s aspiration toward master planning?

The bottom line is profit whilst cpbc need to see housing built which may enable the developers to call the tune at the expense of the leaders masterplan.

Answer: Master planning and the housing number being 101 per year under the target are the only positives in this Local Plan.

There is no more time to do a Local Plan we have had extra time and are now in injury time, the eyes of the UK Councils are watching to see what happens.

The Local Plan will fix the numbers per site that is Fact , Master Planning will involve a Chairman, Local Cllrs , developers and Residents to comment and amend developers applications. Access , green spaces , type of houses and house locations etc are types of issues Madter Planning can affect.

So back to your point about density increase by developers to make more money can not occur if the plan is approved.

Question: Come on Simon
I am sure you can as Chairman of the Development Control Committee remember planning officers relating to the NPPF when considering applications on Canvey Island.
“123. Where there is an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, it is especially important that planning policies and decisions avoid homes being built at low densities, and ensure that developments make optimal use of the potential of each site. In these circumstances:

a) plans should contain policies to optimise the use of land in their area and meet as much of the identified need for housing as possible. This will be tested robustly at examination, and should include the use of minimum density standards for city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport. These standards should seek a significant uplift in the average density of residential development within these areas, unless it can be shown that there are strong reasons why this would be inappropriate;

b) the use of minimum density standards should also be considered for other parts of the plan area. It may be appropriate to set out a range of densities that reflect the accessibility and potential of different areas, rather than one broad density range; and

c) local planning authorities should refuse applications which they consider fail to make efficient use of land, taking into account the policies in this Framework. In this context, when considering applications for housing, authorities should take a flexible approach in applying policies or guidance relating to daylight and sunlight, where they would otherwise inhibit making efficient use of a site (as long as the resulting scheme would provide acceptable living standards).”
If you cannot developers will….

Answer: Density In the NPPF is not just to maximise it it depends on location or we would have high rise flats everywhere. Planning rules and polices still apply .

Question: Cllr S Hart mentions that councillors have only just seen the draft plan – days before the vote. Yep that’s about right CEO and his planners and some senior Tory councillors seemingly keeping the draft under wraps until the last minute. .So the study time is kept at a minimum. It’s like a stuck 78 rpm vinyl record, Why can’t some conservative councillors just wake up and see what is happening.

This is the third attempt at a plan which has cost CPBC residents a lot of taxpayers money., Of course there is a party whip but let’s hope some conservative councillors wake up to all of this and get out of their dreamland. Oh yes, Cllr Hart has made no mention of the increased traffic, no infrastructure, pollution increase, schools and doctors bulging at the seams too many numbers, the list is endless. Canvey Island is planned for even more dwellings to be built where will it end? CI is bursting at the seams. The roads are choc a block or do some people drive round with their eyes shut. I really dread to think that if there was a serious incident and emergency services could not get early necessary access. The mind boggles.

Perhaps a simple suggestion why don’t councillors just knock on a few doors of their constituent’s houses and ask residents for their thoughts. Vote No to the proposal of having ALL the greenbelt taken out of the local plan – let the government take over the LP it can’t be any worse than the efforts made so far.

The government inspectors can then make an independent assessment of the overall assessment and act accordingly. There are members of CPBC who seemingly have always wanted to build on Jotmans Farm right up across Tarpots to Glebelands can you just imagine what affect this would have for Canvey Island – yes the mind boggles again. SURELY COMMON SENSE AND REASONING MUST PREVAIL SURELY.

Answer: As I pointed out before, yes it could be worse, the proposed Local plan is 2000 homes short of the recommended number so the Inspectors “ could” continue with the plan if rejected as is or with the full 6000 number by increasing the site density.

I did not mention traffic because we all know the problems and not just on Canvey but the Mainland to, and is why our numbers are lower than our neighbours.

One thing that was made very clear by the Inspectors was that no plan was not an option, so leaving it for the Inspectors to decide could be a risky choice. A choice that could mean more homes possibly 101 per year more and possibly remove the option of Master planning and the involvement of residents to make site changes.

Question: Master Planning is described in the Cllrs members brief for the meeting on the 28th as :-
“Providing an opportunity for Members to work with Officers”. ( Members being Cllrs )
Can you give me any example where this has happened in regards to the compilation of the 2018 plan.?
and
” It is anticipated that the agreed master plan or planning brief for the site in question will be the subject of public consultation before being agreed by the Council as supplementary planning guidance”

Are you honestly suggesting that public consultation will have any effect on the developers proposal.
Simon I can only say that you are well intended but misguided if you think that the community of CPBC, are remotely fooled by Cllr Smiths rationale as to why we should avoid intervention.

Answer: Do not mix Master Planning with the Local Plan, and bare in mind the only out comes possible to Castle Point will end up with a minimum of 4000 homes in Castle Point over the next 20 years worst case is 6000 homes. So it comes down to what input we can have .

How much input have we had in this Plan, I would say none, and when we try are told time constraints mean none is likely as any delay would lead to the SoS starting intervention as his officers are in Castle Point overseeing the preparation of the Local Plan.

How will Master Planning work? well it will be a a lot of work and the numbers can not be adjusted but other stuff can be like site access type of housing building location and orientation.

Master planning is stated in the Local Plan on larger sites ( some wording needs adjustment in my opinion). Intervention is the worst case scenario and not a means to reduce housing numbers or delay the process.

We thank Simon for lending his time to answer residents queries and we look forward to the debate in council chamber, should a debate actually take place. We agree a decision may not be easy, and a result of a No vote may not lead down the obvious path.

Clearly, this is an Officers Plan, Cllrs have had barely any involvement.

We are being told, that the same members of the council will not take part in the intervention process ( no change there then ).

However, we are informed that members of the public will be able to involve themselves in the consultation part of the Intervention process. Link HERE.

Here’s the point;
Those same Cllrs, are by virtue of being Residents of Castle Point, members of the public!

Therefore are able to participate in the process’ consultation.

The Principle Officers don’t live in the Borough, so therefore should not be involved in the consultation.

Secondly the Secretary of State is not only insistent that CPBC has a plan, he is also adamant that its housing is delivered in a timely manor.

As you suggest Master Planning involves a great deal of work and subsequently, further delays.

It’s probably a good idea that Cllr Smith keeps this delaying tactic to himself.

Hart

Cllr Hart