Sainsbury’s dictate the Town Centre Plans

Castle Point Councillors and Officers have identified a list of developments that they hope will fulfil the first five years supply of housing growth within the forthcoming Local Plan. Surprisingly none of those listed are in the Canvey Town Centre. The Town Centre Plan was supposed to be the transformation of the centre. A Plan that has been years in the making both consulted and negotiated upon by Councillors, Officers and residents alike.

The initial projections caused concern as some 400 dwellings were planned, this was negotiated down by the Town Councillors to what was thought a more realistic 150 dwellings. However the first five years supply of housing in the Local Plan is showing none within Canvey Town Centre!

The “consultation shop” has recently had it’s occupancy extended so that the plans can be seen.

According to a report in the Echo, Friday 9th November, Sainsbury’s are now in a position to dictate planning for our Town Centre. The supermarket owners prefer to see a new building and multi storey car park built on the current car park with a new outlet taking over the current store.

They write: “We consider the policies should balance plans for the delivery of this housing growth within the centre, against encouraging retail development that will increase the attractiveness and the viability of town centres.”

This is either a direct letter or submission on the new Local Plan.

Either way, it spells the end of any hope for Furtherwick Road being converted to a “café culture” area with flats above local shopping centre. Instead we will have to get used to a tall concrete / brick structure dominating the whole area opposite the new Castle View School.

Councillor Smith suggests that “without  Sainsbury’s contribution nothing will happen.” A solution needs to be found ”which gives them what they want, but also gives us what we want.”

Did the Council want to include the dwellings in the first five years supply? Did they want the plans passed as the Council’s consultation approved them? There is a ring of desperation when the mantra of “we are in negotiations” is continually repeated.

Unfortunately Castle Point is in a weak negotiating position when it is made public that “without  Sainsbury’s contribution nothing will happen.”

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