Castle Point Planning Authority can never be accused of failing to disappoint!
The Development Committee meeting met on Tuesday to consider a three dwelling development on the site of council owned garages at St. Christophers Close, Canvey Island.
Whilst this project should be supported, replacing what has previously being a problem location, with family homes, the committee chose to ignore the Environment Agency’s response.
St. Christophers Close was affected by the flooding of July 2014.
The Environment Agency were consulted and for the first time for some years placed a “Holding Objection” against the proposal.
Despite this the officers recommended Approval!
The EA’s objection could be lifted if certain obligations were met through an improved Flood Risk Assessment.
A new Flood Risk Assessment was produced but as the committee meeting was on Tuesday and the EA had not finalised their response, the officers convinced all but 4 of the committee members that the EA’s objection was certain to be lifted, even though there were 7 days remaining for the EA to make their response.
Obviously changing from a concrete based garage area to housing with some garden area “should” improve drainage. However garages do not do not have access to water supply nor do they create waste water.
Would the “improved” drainage (assuming the garage area was not already linked to the drainage system, if not, why not) actually result in enough of an improvement to result in less flooding once the new dwellings were built.?
It appeared that some committee members were of an opinion that over development in urban areas had no effect on the flooding.
Officers, the ward member and the mainland members thought otherwise and approved the development scheme.
Local Residents may feel aggrieved as they also were denied 7 remaining days of their opportunity to object.
Very little is known, especially by Castle Point Council officers and cabinet, of how Sustainable Urban Drainage performs on Canvey Island, that is clear.
Whilst the Canvey Integrated Urban Drainage study is being conducted by the Environment Agency and the Lead Local Flood Authority, who by the way, were not consulted, councillors appear to be taking a position where they know best.
Unfortunately for many Canvey Islanders they have learned a very expensive and distressing lesson.
The garages are CPBC owned land, the Application had another week to run and could quite easily have been carried over to next month’s meeting.
Canvey Island Town Council objected ahead of the drainage study, so
why the hurry to approve?
The decision at the very best can be described as being somewhere between, insensitive and disrespectful!
For the record cllrs Blackwell, Anderson, Watson and Varker whilst supporting the principle of the development voted against it at this stage.