As expected the latest Glebelands proposal was rejected by the Castle Point Borough Council Development Committee, last evening.
Committee member cllr Smith, chairman of the Local Plan consultation Task and Finish (T and F) committee, issued a warning that Dev. Comm. Members that also are members of the T and F group should choose their comments carefully as the developers, Fox Land and Property, and their legal team may be provided evidence upon which they could challenge any decision.
The timing of the proposal is interesting, it appears to be throwing down a clear marker that whilst the Local Plan housing is being allocated, the Glebelands team wish their site to be involved and the latest proposal identifies the sites availability.
The site has apparently had applications for development lodged since 1953 and no doubt this may carry some weight during the Local Plan’s examination.
Whilst the committee followed the officers’ recommendation of rejection, it was clear the major defence relies upon prematurity, the fact that a Local Plan is in the process of being drawn up.
Whilst the previous Glebeland Appeal Inspector considered that the proposal should be granted the Secretary of State ruled that approval outside of the Local Plan process would not be granted.
Interestingly the “Masterplanning” initiative appears to have different relevance on the mainland compared to Canvey Island.
Did I hear someone say “Here we go Again?”
The daft Local Plan proposes to continue the higher density urbanisation that already exists on Canvey Island compared with the mainland.
In comparison with Thorney Bay and the Dutch Village, the Glebelands proposal appears almost village like.
The draft Local Plan, suggests Glebelands could see a development of 100 dwellings on a site area of 7.7 Hectares, at a density of 13 dwellings per Hectare.
Thorney Bay, a site of 21.8 Hectares, the draft Local Plan suggests to be able to be realise 600 dwellings, at a density of 27.5 per Hectare!
At the same density of Glebelands this would be just 283 dwellings!
The Dutch Village, or Land East of Canvey Road, a site of 13.78 Hectares, the draft Local Plan suggests to be able to be realise 275 dwellings.
At the same density of Glebelands this would be just 179 dwellings!
Bearing in mind that Canvey Island is in a Flood Zone, has two COMAH sites and affected by Waterside Farm, Canvey Way AND Sadlers Farm reasoning is needed to not only justify the differences in the density of proposed housing development across the Borough but also to increase the population at risk!
This proposed uneven Distribution of Growth, at levels so deliberately unjustifiable, can only be considered discriminatory!
Two points that I had hoped would be discussed during the Glebelands proposal’s consideration was the indication that the affordable homes allocation appeared generous within the application paperwork and a more in depth consideration of the Highways response.
On Affordable Homes the officers commented in the Agenda papers:
“It should be noted that under the current scheme up to 35 affordable housing units (less than the original proposal) would be provided.
The level of benefit therefore accruing from this scheme is less than previously proposed,”
As a result of CPBC’s “Masterplanning” policy the Borough’s shortfall in the provision of Affordable Homes will inevitably worsen.
As a result of this “policy,” Fox are now offering a 25% allocation at Glebelands.
Less than previously that which was on offer but more than some:-
The Draft Local Plan proposes 25% allocation of affordable homes for the mainland.
The Downer Road / Felstead Road proposal offers in the region of just 10%.
Kiln Road, where the Development Committee agreed a reduction on the amount that originally formed part of the final agreement, after the development had commenced.
On Canvey, proposals for Flatted developments have revealed a preference to provide a fewer number of flats, so as to be less than the number required to provide an affordable homes allocation.
The Local Plan will have difficulty in adopting a set percentage of affordable homes allocation that will be legally binding.
On Traffic congestion the officers commented in the Agenda papers:
From a highway and transportation perspective the impact of the proposal is acceptable…”
The very recent closures of Canvey Way, through accident and oil spill, and the resultant traffic congestion gives serious concern. Both incidents had serious effects reaching far outside of the Borough.
It highlights that the highway network does not have adequate reserve capacity to cope with ordinary incidents that, due to local road layout, turn into major incidents.
For single traffic incidents to have the capability to have such a detrimental effect on traffic flow around the south of the Borough, we have to consider very carefully the merits and effects of approving large housing development proposals.
It could be suggested that at present the Highways situation warrants a veto against any proposed large housing development in the vicinity of Sadlers Farm interchange and Waterside Farm areas until Highways consider investment is appropriate in the Benfleet / Canvey Island area.
Essex County Highways consider that the Glebelands proposal is generally acceptable, requiring some limited improvements at Tarpots.
Whilst Tarpots, Sadlers Farm, Waterside Farm and Canvey Way are considered to be adequate for the amount of current traffic usage, an examination requires to be held into the criteria and context of traffic surveys.
Not only is the amount of traffic relevant, but the effects that road traffic incidents have is equally relevant.
After all, a survey indicating xxx number of free flowing vehicles per hour, may show only xx number of vehicles per hour during congested periods following an incident.
More than likely some allowance is made, however we have seen in the subject of flooding in Castle Point, our record on recording events and incidents is almost non-existant to the point of being obstructive.
The result of ignoring these traffic incident effects in the south of the Borough, renders Canvey Way and Canvey Road ineffective as an Evacuation Route in the event of an Emergency.
The draft Local Plan requires much Editing before a final version can justify being considered to address local need!