The Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group note that the thorny topic of the development of Thorney Bay Caravan site has thrown up yet more interesting issues.
Already the whole process has been described to me by an experienced developer as being “unusual”!
The “In Principle” proposal for 600 dwellings plus upgrade of 300 static dwellings passed by the Castle Point Development Committee, now becomes an Outline Application with an unspecified total number of dwellings.
The latest document added to the Council’s Applications portal covers the Community Infrastructure Levy and other binding agreements.
Both the Council and Developer appear keen to have the Thorney Bay proposal included in the new Local Plan’s initial 5 year housing supply and are eager to have the Roscommon Way link completed as it is considered “essential” to the development.
It comes as somewhat of a surprise to note that one of the “proposed heads of terms” agreement requires:
“that the Owner shall not retain land or cause land to be owned in a manner that would act as a ransom strip that might limit the development of the Rosscommon Way Extension.”
Possibly this refers to the Echo report covering the holding up of the previous extension of the Roscommon Way by a small area of fenced off land in the pathway of the the road works.
I presume the Council believe there is the possibility of this happening again and are attempting to prevent. However the term “ransom” is somewhat unsavoury.
Another part of the agreement touches on Affordable Housing provision. The provision of which, according to the Statement of Intent, is yet to be negotiated with the Council. The Council may well be no match where negotiating with this developer is concerned. The recent Glebelands Appeal revealed that the Developer Fox Land and Property were willing to commit to a 35% Affordable Housing provision before the Council’s barrister and the Planning Inspector.
The Council’s Officers, in defence, argued that in their opinion they did not believe the developer could achieve the 35% figure.
At the completion of the Appeal Hearing the developer and Council signed a planning obligation that committed FLP to providing 35% Affordable dwellings before completion of the development should the Appeal be upheld.
This proves, no matter what CPBC Officers suggest, that the 35% figure is achievable. The signing of the planning obligation for Glebelands must be used as a precedent for future development. It appears this opportunity has been missed at Thorney Bay!
The Development Committee in approving the “In Principle” proposal for Thorney Bay did so subject to further work, amongst other items, on affordable housing being carried out.
To go forward with the matter undecided, reveals the Officers have failed the Committee! If one developer can achieve the desired levels of affordable housing provision, even after the costs of an extended Core Strategy and Appeal legal battle, then other developers can equally achieve these levels.
The obvious negotiating factor is the need for CPBC to identify 1000 dwellings for the Local Plan’s 5 year housing supply. The largest single named site in the whole of Castle Point is of course on Canvey Island at Thorney Bay.
If the developer was to withdraw, other sites within the Flood Zone at Canvey Island would have to be allocated.
Why within the Flood Zone and not in the safer Zone 1 on the Mainland?
Because we are considered a “distinctive community”! Suggesting it is undesirable for Canvey Islanders to be expected to live within the Mainland community.