Potential disaster for the Green belt in Castle Point!

A sensational piece of evidence due to be presented at the Glebelands Application Appeal suggests that there may well not in actual fact be a Green Belt within the whole of Castle Point!

This is, of course, contrary to popular opinion, however Fox Land and Property Ltd, the Applicant, suggest that as Green Belt Policy GB1 of the Local Plan has not officially been saved, then there may well not be a local Green Belt to defend!

Should this be the case the need for “very exceptional circumstances” to be proved will be un-necessary and all of our Green Belt will be left open to development!

Fox suggest that although the GB boundaries are clearly marked on the 1998 Local Plan proposals Map, the Map itself reflects policy it does not in itself create policy.

It appears that no development plan policy in the Local Plan defines Green belt boundaries in Castle Point.

The Appellant notes that no Green Belt development plan policies were alleged to have been breached in the first reason for refusal in the decision to refuse the Application planning permission at the Castle Point Development Committee meeting in April 2012.

The Development Committee Members and Case Officers can be held responsible for this over sight.

Whether or not the existance of the Green Belt can be proven and accepted as fact by the Planning Inspector, only time will tell.

The implication though is that due to a gross piece of incompetence by CPBC Officers and Cabinet the whole of the Green Belt, that Castle Point residents hold dear, has been put in jeopardy due to a lack thoroughness!

Green Belt Campaigners have put their heart and soul into defending land they hold dear, Councillors have aligned themselves alongside the campaigners yet allowed this lapse in policy making to go un-noticed.

There is another issue here, one of expense.

Not only was the Core Strategy withdrawn after £500,000 of public money had been “invested” but now residents are to fund the Appeal process.                     Quite rightly we should put up a defence but lets at least insist on the basics having been covered first and foremost.

This is public money yet again being wasted in times of austerity due to poor working practises.

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group pleaded with the Council to not take the original failed Core Strategy to the Planning Inspector. We were aware that it was unsound and the Inspectors letter of May 2010 justified our belief!         We took comfort from the feedback we received when professionals reviewed our Core Strategy submission and others even plagiarised whole parts of it.

With the possibility that the Inspector may uphold Fox’s claim that there may actually not now be a Green Belt in Castle Point, who is going to take responsibility?

All except one CIIP member, Cllr Anderson, of the Castle Point Council voted to withdraw the Core Strategy, rather than proceed with the Examination, thereby identifying its inherent flaws. At its (CS) demise the Cabinet and Officers reinstated the old 1998 Local Plan.

Confidence is questioned, Members of this Authority must take responsibility for the possibility of such an error, consider their capabilities and consider their positions.

Answers are required and urgently!

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5 responses to “Potential disaster for the Green belt in Castle Point!

  1. We should have expected this really, par for the course with this council.
    A council using a 12 year old plan to protect greenbelt that may not be legally greenbelt, you couldn’t make it up.
    Martin

  2. OMG!!
    What a bloody disaster.
    This beggars belief.
    The only argument we have if this is the case is my original one of density, which will probably not carry any sway.
    Only a massive backlash from existing residents will stop us being concreted in if this is the case and judging by the apathy so far I won’t be holding my breath.
    Ian

  3. This may well be a front foot opening manouvre as a negotiating tool. Nevertheless it will require evidence to disprove and leave the Council starting from the back row of the grid should they manage it.
    Editor

  4. I am saddened to read this news. When I moved to Elmhurst Avenue over 20 years ago, it was the green spaces surrounding the developed areas that attracted me. Now I see the fields at the end of our road, and those in neighbouring roads being sacrificed to new build projects that in 20 years time will be seen as the changing point (and not in a good way) for our community. Nobody who approves this plan and knows the area can surely argue that it is in the interest of the town and its current residents – those of us who have paid our rates and taxes over the years. Our roads are overcrowded parking lots. Our schools and services are suffering. We are to become one of the most densely populated areas around – you will see an exodus and an influx of residents – and not I suspect in a good way. I will be there on Friday 23rd, as these proposals are not in the interests of our community. Sadly I fear that Ian is correct in his assessment that our efforts and protests will be in vain – still, it is worth trying to stand up to this, even in the face of what looks like several brick walls to come!

  5. CPBC comment:
    FLP had indicated to the Council that it intends to make this technical point to the Planning Inspector.
    The Council will strongly contest the point and the grounds for doing so are set out in our evidence – namely that the saving or otherwise of policies from the Local Plan does not undermine the status of the Proposals Map, where the Green Belt is shown.

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