Castle Point Green Belt development and Task and Finish Group work open to Twitter speculation!

The problem with Twitter is not only the few characters “tweeters” are allowed to get their messages across, but also the failure of “tweeters” to supply the source of the information they are publishing into the public domain.

This was the case today with a couple of messages from two Castle Point mainland Councillors.

The first “tweeted:-

“If no development on Canvey where will we find the 200/300 houses per year. I suppose they will send to Benfleet green belt.”

His colleague responded:-

“not democratic is it ?”

Where could this information, if it is information, rather than speculation, have come from?

Could it be that maybe, mainland councillors have spied a redraft of the new Local Plan, after all it is “the officers Plan,” isn’t it?

Castle Point officers have evidenced that indeed, the population of Canvey Island requires monitoring so that at most no increase in numbers occur.

The reasoning is that constraints on housing are with Planning Guidance foundation.

Is this why reference has been made to “no development on Canvey” being un-democratic has been speculated upon?

With one of these councillors being a member of the Task and Finish group and the other having been excluded, democracy and pre-forming opinion may be an issue for the mainland group.

The subject is evidenced. However it may not be the route that the CPBC Task and Finish group wishes to take.

After all there has been a recent local election where it was demonstrated by the mainland residents that they were uncomfortable and concerned with the way the Local Plan was progressing.

The recent election has led to a new initiative by the CPBC Lead group on the Local Plan direction, hasn’t it?

Nothing un-democratic there.

Unlike previously I remember well, with the Core Strategy.

With the Core Strategy the single large Green Belt housing development site that was identified, was on Canvey Island.

BBC copyright

BBC copyright

The Castle Point Core Strategy was presented for Examination to the Planning Inspector and received a very difficult passage.

Whilst not failing at the first hurdle, I think it fair to say that once the political drivers or “Local Factors” were exposed (by the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group), the Flood Risk Assessment was eventually presented as evidence after an extended spell with the CPBC “censor,” and the Canvey Green Belt Campaign’s Flood Risk submission had been plagirised by a barrister, the Inspector had heard enough!

The Inspector, in his criticism of the Council’s document, wrote questioning:

 “the distribution of growth across the Borough”

“inconsistent and inappropriate site selection”

“the Council’s own Sustainability Appraisal is unclear as to why the most sustainable Green Belt site was discounted”

And that “potential locations should not be dismissed because local factors are given too much weight.”

Not too much democracy at that time!

If democracy was ever in doubt it was in that last sentence, “Local Factors” were responsible for the Dutch Village being promoted as the single large Green belt housing location.

At least the Local Plan Task and Finish group meetings, those in public, offer an opportunity for these type of decisions being made in the open this time around!

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One response to “Castle Point Green Belt development and Task and Finish Group work open to Twitter speculation!

  1. The lack of democracy and transparency is something clearly being denied to all parts of the Borough. As recently as Wednesday 15th October it could be witnessed that the comprehensive agenda items presented to the Cabinet for approval for acceptance attracted very little comment or questioning from those members having the responsibility to do so. New Local Plan evidence documents were accepted containing information still being questioned by the Task and Finish Group looking into the soundness of the Draft New Local Plan. Previously identified development proposal sites have been removed from the plan, having the effect of bringing forward other sites to accommodate the first five year housing need supply. How are the Task and Finish Group expected to perform their function if work undertaken outside the evidence documents that they are working with continues to be presented without full council involvement.. The Task and Finish process must be an example of prematurity and although still in its draft form clearly there are conflictions that are difficult to over come. Documents still being brought forward as supporting evidence for the New Local Plans presentation just being accepted as being sound without proper scrutiny is not helpful. This has implications for the so called democratic community consultation process, without the process being reviewed in line with the introduction of the supporting evidence the process becomes completely undermined.

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