Documents are currently being loaded onto the Castle Point Borough Council’s planning portal for the proposal known as “Land at Felstead Road, Benfleet.”
This proposal was one of the development proposals that were hurriedly assembled for inclusion into the 5 Year Housing Supply to defend the Glebelands Appeal.
Felstead Road is within the Green Belt, providing that the High Court judge considering the Glebelands Appeal considers that the Green Belt actually exists within Castle Point!
Also within the 5 Year Housing Supply is the development underway at Kiln Road. Here you will remember there was a reduction allowed by the CPBC Development Committee of the Affordable Homes supply, from 53 down to just 30, out of 150 dwellings.
However the Felstead Road application does not beat around the bush in pandering to Local Needs.
It’s intention from the start is, out of a 178 dwellings proposal, to supply just 18 Affordable Homes, just 10% of the total builds!
Within the accompanying Design and Access statement document the developer expresses the Aims to “the creation of a sustainable environment for living with a mix of residential accommodation to reinforce a diverse and vibrant community.”
How diverse this community may become is open to conjecture as local youngsters appear to be yet again excluded.
Of the 178 dwellings proposed at Felstead Road, the vast majority, 128 , will be of 4 bedrooms, just 14 will be of 2 bedrooms and 0 of 1 bedrooms.
The CPBC Head of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods officer has continually insisted that locally there is an ageing population and there is an urgent need for more 1 bedroom properties for the old and young alike.
So not only does the Felstead Road proposal not support the local need for Affordable Homes it does not support the change in the type of housing needed within the area.
In not doing so the development also creates a need for further land to be released in the Green Belt so as to supply the type of housing it itself should be supplying.
The whole Core Strategy and Local Plan saga has been a catalogue of disastrous decision making.
The outcome of approving such a development will be to supply homes for outsiders and doing little for Local Need. The intention is for a low density development resulting in high end prices, well able to support an affordable homes delivery of an acceptable level.
This will lead to a migration led approach to local demographics. Population and development siting is being controlled by developers rather than neighbourhood planning.
The eagerness to include this site as a means of defending the Borough’s Green Belt has been rashly thought out and may well lead to more problems than we can handle.