Dirty tricks in Castle Point?

During the formation years of the Castle Point Core Strategy the idea was promoted that a moratorium was in place regarding new development on Canvey Island.          

This was due to Canvey being in Flood Zone 3A and supposedly the moratorium had been imposed by the Environment Agency. This “no build” policy would of course have a knock on effect on end of year completion figures. In turn this would show an increased need for dwellings on Canvey Island.

A sceptic may suspect that this was a further attempt by the Authority to suggest a greater need for development on Canvey so as to deflect development away from the Mainland part of the Borough.

Researching flood risk as part of the Canvey Green Belt Campaign’s response to the Core Strategy Document, prior to the Planning Inspector’s Examination, it became apparent that indeed there was no such moratorium in place.                                                                                                                                               A simple telephone call directly to the Environment Agency confirmed that this was a fact, no such moratorium had existed, and we included this in our Core Strategy submission.

Shortly afterwards it was suggested by Cllr Smith that the Environment Agency had in effect altered their strict stance on Development in the Flood Zones.

Reading the new National Planning Policy Framework accompanying Technical Paper on development in Flood Zones it is clear that the Environment Agency stance will remain un-altered. The EA will provide, as always, technical advice and support with the final decision on any development being taken by the Resposible Authority.

Development has always been possible on Canvey Island providing a suitable flood risk assessment accompanied the development application. The only parties suffering under the mis-leading moratorium were local developers and builders.

The ultimate aim may well have been to open the doors for the larger scaled developments on Canvey Island’s Green Belt satisfying the Planning Inspector’s housing requirement and thereby protecting the Mainland from development.

The new Local Plan will need to reflect good planning practise to be found sound.

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