Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group notice that a Planning Application for three Travellers Pitches at Janda Field, Fane Road, Thundersley is recommended for Refusal to the Development Committee by the Castle Point Council Officers.
Regardless of peoples thoughts on the topic, the Local Authority are under an obligation to provide a suitable number of pitches in the Borough to satisfy need.
There are no official pitches currently provided within the Borough.
Officers state as a reason for Refusal:- “It is unclear from the information provided by the applicants that a full search for an appropriate site within either Castle Point or indeed wider Essex has been carried out. A lack of available appropriate sites has not therefore been effectively demonstrated by the applicant”
Previously Canvey Island would automatically be considered the logical part of the Borough to establish a Traveller site.
However, Planning practise prevents the establishment of Traveller’s sites in flood plain areas, the Local Authority have a dilemma, where in the Mainland part of the Borough can a suitable area be allocated? The obvious answer is that it cannot!
The topic is far too sensitive to risk upsetting public opinion, especially given the recent bad press of the goings on at the nearby Dale Farm., Basildon establishment.
In complete contrast Officers, when considering Planning Proposals for Canvey Island consider Canvey Islanders to be a
“Distinctive Community” much the same, you may think, as Travellers may be considered a “distinctive community.” Why make the comparison? Well, in planning proposals areas in Flood Risk Zone 3 are required to be located first and foremost in areas less likely to flood, Zones 1 and 2, if there are areas within the local area. Obviously there are areas in Zones 1 +2 in our small Borough so an excuse was required to excuse the desire to use Canvey Island as the growth area in Castle Point.
Branding Canvey Island residents a “Distinctive Community” is that excuse!
Recent weather patterns and the damage and distress that has been caused, you would think, would lead to a cautious approach to proposing housing development in Flood Zones, after all the Borough’s Flood Risk Assessment incorporating Climate Change to 2110 identified Canvey Island as being at Actual Risk of flood.
So when planning proposals come forward for Canvey Island the Development Committee members should be noting, as in the Officers reasons for refusal of the Travellers site at Fane Road, whether “a full search for an appropriate site within either Castle Point has been carried out,” meaning that “a lack of available appropriate sites has not therefore been effectively demonstrated by the applicant !”
Obviously one “Distinctive Community” is being treated differently to another. One group has the ability to upset decisions at the ballot box whilst another does not have this ability.