We, the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group, believe that Canvey Island has the unique opportunity, through the new Local Plan process, to assess it’s own Housing Need.
The Island’s green belt and it being a defended Flood Zone, form constraints that should be recognised as offering residents well-being and amenities, whilst also providing the driver to promote both the Town Centre, previously developed land and brownfield areas towards regeneration.
The Core Strategy examining Inspector, Mr Crysell, in recognising these constraints suggested that Canvey’s housing needs should be tailored to the needs of the existing community.
This supposedly was recognised by Castle Point Council in their sustainability scoping report in which they, being mindful of the Island being a Flood Risk Zone 3 area, announced a “desire” to maintain Canvey’s population at current levels, or lower.
This scoping report would have come from the officers own research, however neither this report, nor Mr Crysell’s observations and advice appear to have registered with the Lead Councillors who have drawn up the draft Local Plan, instead deciding to allocate Canvey Island 1,450 new dwellings!
Castle Point Council are required to release monies collected from the previous sale of Council dwellings, to purchase a number of the new build flats in Long Road at the Town Centre.
Hopefully these will go to local people, whether from Canvey or the mainland part of the Borough.
There remains a worry that people from other parts of the Country may be migrating into the Borough, thus artificially inflating the perceived local need.
Local examples of Affordable Homes not being provided locally are apparent, as developers seek to not fulfil their obligations under the 1998 Local Plan and approved Planning agreements.
Ours is not the only part of the Country that this may be occurring.
This appears to reflect other Boroughs capitulating to developers’ demands.
Whilst market valued housing picks up, developers offer “evidence” that their percentage supply of affordable homes, agreed in the recent more austere times, are now unviable!
Whilst the housing market in the more expensive London areas forges ahead, more people will be forced out into areas like Essex if the lack of affordable homes trend continues.
The focus for Castle Point Council following the elections must be on supporting and protecting the residents of the Borough in general and Canvey Island in particular, or at least should be!
Paul Wellman reports on Social media:
“Housing starts in London hit highest levels for a decade. Just under 29,000 starts across London in 2013.”
“Construction started on nearly 29,000 homes in 2013. That’s 42% up on the previous year.”
“The 29k figure represents a jump of 154% on the low of 2009, and up 6% on the previous high of 2007.”
“Upshot is a 66% increase in construction starts in outer boroughs in 2013. That compares with a 22% drop the year before.”
“Affordable housing completions fell 29% on the previous year. 7,573 units compared to 10,727 in 2012”
“That’s the second year in a row the number of social units completed across London has fallen.” #LOREMA
The Ealing Borough website declares:
“Like many other London boroughs. Ealing has a severe shortage of homes.
Out of London Scheme.
Moving out of London can be a great way to make a fresh start in other parts of the Country.
The Out of London scheme encourages applicants to move to areas outside of London.”
The Hastings and St.Leonards Observer previously reported:
“At least two London Boroughs have re-housed Council tenants in private rented accommodation in Hastings in recent months due to a lack of affordable accommodation in the Capital.”
There is nothing concrete to suggest that this may be happening locally, however the Thorney Bay organisation have been known to advertise outside of the area, thus possibly creating a pressurised situation for adequate affordable housing locally.