Castle Point fiddles while Green Belt burns? Whitehall showing the Local Plan way?

With the feet dragging that has befallen cllr Dick’s Motion to review Green Belt against Green Belt constraints, we can be sure that the clock is truly ticking.

Cllr Blackwell was obviously not making a blind threat when he reminded councillors that 2017 was a Local Plan deadline.

Pre election cllr Dick first raised the desire to reject the current daft New Local Plan. This was put into a Motion and has been batted back and forth between Council and cabinet and finally deflected onto the Task and Finish committee, after much delay.

Task and Finish are now “tasked” with the job of not only finishing their review of comments on the Local plan consultation, but will also be required to come back to Council with a recommendation on cllr Dick’s Motion, by December!

September and October are scheduled to see the Jotmans and Glebelands Appeal enquiries.

Will the 2017 deadline for Local Plan completions be a life saving extension for these two proposals?

It was noticeable at cabinet that cllr Dick was prepared to suggest that the two safeguarded sites from the out of date 1998 Local plan would identify enough housing for the first 10 years supply if his suggestion that the historical delivery of 100 dwellings per annum was adopted in the new Local Plan.

Typically these two large sites are both located on Canvey Island. Leopards certainly do not change their spots.

No wonder cllr Dick’s  Cabinet colleague, sitting beside him, displayed such signs of disagreeing with him in his body language, even struggling to hide  shaking his head at one stage!

And the Chairman of the Task and Finish group cllr Smith looked anything but comfortable in responding to the Motion, perhaps the fence is splintered!

The usually unified Lead group of councillors are struggling to hide a split dividing two groups. One prepared to introduce a radical change in the Local Plan process with the others more concerned at the likely financial implication to Castle Point Council.


While Nero fiddles Rome burns, springs to mind, although in this case it is CPBC fiddling while Green Belt is built over.

Whilst delegation of the council is not going to happen, according to a senior officer, a direct warning has been observed by York Council. Could the same happen at Castle Point, will the threat be enough to make councillors fall into place and adopt the current Local Plan?

It will be interesting to observe their progress, especially as the report below contrasts directly with a lot of what we have been led to believe. It will be interesting to see how this Plan process unravels.

Victoria Prest, York Press, Political reporter

Whitehall threat to York Local Plan.
An overhaul of York’s draft Local Plan will see the city council reconsider how many new houses the city needs, but Whitehall is threatening to write the plan for York if nothing is finalised by 2017.
York’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat Executive has given an update on the Local Plan ahead of a report to be discussed next week.
Councillors Chris Steward and Keith Aspden have outlined a set of joint principles which they say should determine how things are taken forward – including a promise to make protecting the greenbelt a priority.They say the plan should recognise that Gypsy and Traveller plans are inappropriate for the greenbelt, and the growth of the universities should be taken into account.
They also want council planners working on the new plans to work more closely with community groups trying to draw up their own “Neighbourhood Plans”, and to cooperate with neighbouring councils.
Cllr Steward, Conservative council leader said: “The Local Plan is one of the biggest issues we face as an administration and it is vital we get a plan, but it must be one that is evidence based and takes the wishes of York’s residents with it. Protection of the Green Belt is of critical importance along with measured and appropriate development.But a central Government announcement yesterday warned that planning policy for York could be written in Whitehall, if the council continues to drag its feet.


One response to “Castle Point fiddles while Green Belt burns? Whitehall showing the Local Plan way?

  1. There seems to be a move by some senior Councillors to identify selective areas of Green Belt worthy of safeguarding from development. These selected site I would suggest correspond to the Wards of those Councillors undertaking the selection.
    It is worth a quick reminder of the function that Green Belt must fulfil as it would seem that all green belt is worthy of protection however some green belt areas are more worthy than others.

    Green Belt Function
    In order for land to be identified as Green Belt, it must fulfil at least one of five purposes, as identified in paragraph 1.5 of PPG2. These five purposes are repeated in the NPPF. The five purposes of including land in the Green Belt are as follows:
    1) To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas;
    2) To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another;
    3) To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
    4) To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
    5) To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict
    and other land.
    It should be assumed that all of the land currently identified as Green Belt in Castle Point fulfils at least one of these purposes, because otherwise it would not have been identified as such in the Local Plan. This assumption is supported by the findings of the Castle Point Green Belt Functions Assessment 2010, which shows that the Green Belt in all areas fulfils at least one of these functions.

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