Environmentalists holding up Canvey Green Belt Development – How Dare They !

The intention to convert 8 Hectares of Green Belt at West Canvey into Business use, despite encouragement from Castle Point Council has received some opposition. Whilst some of these objections are indicated through our previous Blog Post, available HERE, some Local Councillors label other objectors as “Environmentalists” as though they / we are some sort of sub-species.

This Post indicates just some of the issues that CPBC Councillors and presumably officers wish us to overlook in the name of progress. Progress that would mean the re-drawing of Canvey’s Green Belt Boundaries, also the amount of developer Land Banking, and opportunity for profit making.

At what expense to Canvey, both residents, wildlife and ecology?

The proposed development is described as:

Land South Of Roscommon Way Canvey Island.                                                                    Demolition of disused pumping station and associated site clearance and construction of commercial and industrial development.

Buglife responded to the proposal thus:

Thank you for consulting Buglife regarding the updated plans and ecological information for the above application. Buglife previously objected to planning permission being granted on the basis of:

  • Impact on Site of Scientific Interest and its associated invertebrate assemblages.
  • Potential impacts on nationally rare and scarce invertebrates.
  • Loss of Local Wildlife Site.
  • Inadequate survey and assessment of site’s value.
  • Absence of mitigation.

Buglife acknowledges the re-designed landscaping to create a more continuous mitigation area was undertaken in consultation with Natural England and that this has resulted in some improvements to the overall scheme. Buglife are also aware of the responses submitted by SLR and Colin Plant Assoc. defending the original ecological assessment.
However, Buglife would like to maintain our objection. Much of the applicant’s ecological assessment is based on the site being identified as over grazed and species poor, however, the site only a few years ago was shown to be a forage-rich site clearly of raised interest.
The site should be considered as being of much higher potential for biodiversity and could with only simple changes in management contribute significantly to the wider Canvey area’s rich biodiversity, which is of course linked with the Canvey Wick Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The Environment Agency also have responded to the development proposal.

The Environment Agency (EA) point out that the proposed development site’s position means that, in the event of a breach of the sea defence in the area, the time to inundation of the site is less than 1 Hour!

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a European Directive which establishes a legal framework for the management, protection, improvement and sustainable use of waterbodies. We are the competent authority for implementing the Directive, and have produced River Basin management Plans which set out the practical actions required to meet the obligations of the WFD. A wide range of other organisations, including local authorities, have obligations to co-deliver its objectives.

Furthermore, where Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDS) is concerned the EA point out that the development site area “may be constantly wet!”

Interestingly it is left to the Environment Agency to point out to Castle Point Borough Council reference to their own Policy EC13 which states that “the Council will refuse development which is prejudicial to the interests of all wildlife and the retention and management of important habitats.”

The Environment Agency maintain their Holding Objection to the development Proposal.

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One response to “Environmentalists holding up Canvey Green Belt Development – How Dare They !

  1. Steve Sawkins

    The developers agents for this site makes the following points within their Planning Statement. at 6.6 :-

    “When determining planning applications, local planning authorities should ensure that flood risk is not increased elsewhere and only consider development in areas at risk of flooding where, informed by a site-specific flood risk assessment following the Sequential Test, and if required the Exception Test, it can be demonstrated that (i) within the site, the most vulnerable development is located in areas of lowest flood risk unless there are overriding reasons to prefer a different location, and (ii) development is appropriately flood resistant, with safe access and escape routes where required, and that any residual risk can be safely managed, including by emergency planning, and the development gives priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems.”

    Secured in the knowledge that CPBC Planning Authority have a sound understanding of these requirements, what could possibly go wrong?

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