Canvey Green Belt “up for grabs” Developers “Playing the Game” whilst Local Plan dithering?

Play the game
Like any game, planning has its own rules but they are particularly unpredictable, open to interpretation and capable of being bent quite dramatically! Unlike building regulations, planning regulations are not hard and fast and they differ from one area of the country to the next.

This is because planning involves local politics.                                             Ken Dijksman

The Inner London Group’s bolt onto Canvey Island’s Charfleets industrial estate Outline proposal will, if granted permission bring even worse traffic issues to Waterside Farm, Sadlers junction and Canvey Island.
The Outline application proposes the “Demolition of disused pumping station and associated site clearance and construction of commercial and industrial development with associated land-raising, vehicle access to Roscommon Way.”
Currently it is within the Green Belt, close to the SSSI, Canvey Wick site.
We all know that employment, as is housing, a necessity for a thriving community. However site selection is paramount, and this may be a premature and unnecessary move to set aside an area.
The Local Plan process is turning into a bit of a Land Grab exercise.
The expansive regeneration emanating from the East side of London, the Thames Gateway, at present has economic and practical boundaries in place. These being the potential around the M25 and Docklands areas being as yet un-fulfilled.
Castle Point, especially Canvey Island, is served by a comparatively poor road access leading to inconsistent journey times and consequently unreliable production and delivery results.
Castle Point consulted on the Employment and Retail Needs Assessment via Nathaniel Litchfield.
They found that;
“Over 90% of the borough’s allocated employment land is in Canvey Island with limited supply elsewhere to meet future demand.”
No comment!
“The Borough’s two allocated sites South of Northwick Road and Roscommon Way appear reasonably suited to meet future needs although their proximity to the Thames estuary, relative remoteness and potential drainage issues may deter development.”
Hardly a resounding endorsement!
“It would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However, various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening and may start to put in place long term steps towards greater self containment of jobs.” “there may be a qualitative need for some more sites that are readily available and better located to strategic roads and population centres in the north of the Borough. Such sites might also have better prospects of attracting developers. They could also enable the decanting of firms in established industrial areas and modernisation of the stock in the older areas.”
Likelihood of this happening……?
“In terms of capitalising on major new economic developments in adjoining areas, it is not obvious that a new road access to Canvey Island could enable the area to benefit to a much greater extent from the major port and distribution development at London Gateway in Thurrock. The cost of such infrastructure would also need to be weighed against the scale of economic benefits likely to accrue to Canvey Island, and the extent of these do not appear likely to be major.”
 One may feel that Local Factors are yet again influencing site selection!
For the potential developers there is a potential Win / Win situation for  as a “certain” local councillor mentioned  that this area could once accepted for industrial development, could be considered for residential use.”
The following Planning Resource report, whilst in a seemingly more bouyant market area in the UK gives indication that whilst a Local Plan is in the process of being drawn up, there is little justification in attempting to allocate development sites outside of the Plan making process.
Whilst the Canvey site developers may also be jostling for position, the temptation for CPBC to allocate a further development site on Canvey Island may be too big a temptation.
Planning Resource
13 February 2015
 A call in involving a comprehensive redevelopment scheme in Warwickshire comprising demolition and the erection of offices, research and development facilities and light industrial uses has been refused due to substantial green belt harm.
 The 308ha site lay within and adjacent to Coventry Airport and within a business park. The scheme also included general industrial uses, storage and distribution, hotel accommodation, museum accommodation, model car club facility, small scale retail and catering establishments, car showroom accommodation, replacement airport buildings and a new countryside park.
The secretary of state, in agreeing with his inspector’s recommendation, concluded that a strong case had been made for the development. He considered that it would deliver economic benefits and environmental gains, and that it would be reasonably consistent with sustainable development objectives. However, he also considered that it would give rise to substantial green belt harm, to which he attached very serious weight. He considered that an Employment Land Study addressed some shortcomings in supporting evidence identified by the inspector, but failed to establish that the need for the proposal was such that a decision on the future of the green belt at the application site should be taken now, ahead of a wider consideration of green belt boundaries through the local plan. Having had regard to the applicant’s case that the applications were not premature and that a decision on the proposal should be made now rather than in the context of the local plan’s examination, the secretary of state found that a grant of permission now would result in significant prejudice to the emerging plan. In coming to that conclusion, he had regard to the fact that no date has yet been fixed for the local plan examination.
Taking all of the benefits of the proposed development into account, both on an individual basis and cumulatively, the secretary of state concluded that the harm to the green belt had not been clearly outweighed, and that very special circumstances did not exist to justify allowing the inappropriate development. He also concluded that there were no material considerations sufficient to overcome the conflict he identified with the development plan.
Inspector: Terry Phillimore; Inquiry
Link to the paperwork for the Canvey proposed development is HERE.

One response to “Canvey Green Belt “up for grabs” Developers “Playing the Game” whilst Local Plan dithering?

  1. Remember this:-

    The Key Sustainability Issues identified for Castle Point through the scoping report are as follows:

    Habitats of international, European and national significance are located within the Borough, although outside the built development boundary. These must be protected from development that would threaten their integrity. Additionally, ancient woodlands, other local wildlife sites and gardens all contribute towards a rich mosaic of biodiversity in Castle Point that should be conserved, enhanced and increased where possible to create an integrated network of habitats.

    There is a plethora of concerns identified from the various consultations related to the above site. The use of the word integrity is interesting in this context, integrity when used as a human trait has been somewhat missing from this whole process.

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