The Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group note that within the September Castle Point Cabinet Agenda is comment as to progress of the new Local Plan. Much is made of the implications of the Glebelands Judicial Review findings creating delays in Local Plan progress.
There are several warning indicators for those residents concerned of the future of our Green Belts.
It appears that the Council intend to re-draw Green Belt boundaries as these appear tightly drawn around the urban areas so as to provide the housing numbers required.
The promise of the protection offered by the Localism Bill, as explained by Caroline Spelman on her visit to meet local Green Belt Groups prior to the Parliamentary Elections, appear to be of little consequence.
The opportunity to set local targets to meet local need amount to a requirement to match the extinct RSS figures.
The Cabinet Agenda makes a point that wealth difference between mainland and Island residents has widened.
“ Homelessness Strategy Plan Draft P.18
Development of New Local Plan
The Council is currently preparing a New Local Plan, which will aim to meet the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework to boost significantly the supply of housing.
However it is likely that environmental constraints and Green
Belt designation will prevent the full need for housing being met. This has implications for the affordability of housing in the borough.
Initial findings from the Strategic Housing Market Assessment Review 2012 indicate that the demand for affordable housing in Castle Point is high (at least 57%). This percentage need
for affordable housing is expected to increase if lower levels of total housing provision are achieved.
Affordability issues arising from the supply of housing
within the borough may therefore act to drive up cases of homelessness amongst local families who are unable to access or maintain payments for homes in Castle Point.”
A special point is made in the Agenda on the caravan dwellings at Thorney Bay.
On one hand these dwellings are used to count as previously completed dwellings (Glebelands defence), whilst on the other hand mention is made to the proposed re-development and the risk this re-development would pose to the Housing Options Service from the expected large influx of homeless enquiries from the current residents. The Council admit / recognise careful and proactive planning for this risk is necessary.
It seems strange that this point should only now become worthy of being publically recognised by CPBC!
There appears a determination to build a case for there being an inflated local need for housing on Canvey island, above and beyond that on the mainland.
Clearly the mainland areas have provided a tiny percentage of the Borough’s housing over the previous 40 years yet this appears to only warrant effort being made in maintaining the situation. The Deanes School issues and the need for regeneration on the mainland that is so clearly apparent and yet denied due to political impacts
We are either all in this together or a divided Borough.
If we are divided then let there be an indication of the local needs of local Canvey people, rather than the transient population that distort the picture.
It does not need repeating that Canvey Island is a Flood Risk Zone 3 area.
The Sequential Test is quite clear on what areas should and should not be developed.
There is pressure applied on Officers to get around this obstacle.
The urbanisation on Canvey is denser than many other areas in the Borough, the 60 Acres estate is an example of a development without adequate green recreational areas.
The recent flooding from the heavy rainfall highlighted problems in over-urbanization.
Should that flooding have been from the sea defences failing, the true value of the Green Belt on Canvey Island and it’s value as a flood plain would be learned.