The link between Green Belt Housing and Business Growth – why is it targetted for Canvey Island?

Maybe a reason why Castle Point Council appear keen to aspire to generate large industrial / business development growth on Canvey Island is contained in this paragraph from the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) document “Objectively Assessed Need and Housing Targets”;

“4.5 On balance, we would suggest that: 

Future jobs belong above the line, because jobs impact on the demand for housing (many people want to live near their workplaces or new job opportunities), independent of any policy considerations. Albeit policy  also plays a role, because job growth itself may be policy-led; and also because, as mentioned in the PPG, one of the reasons for locating housing close to jobs is to avoid unsustainable commuting.”

The PAS admit their advice note has no official status, but is based on existing good practise, their own experience and recommendations from Planning Inspectors.

Three large business developments the extension to Charfleets, Land South of Roscommon Way and the Northwick Road site opposite Morrisons are receiving encouragement.

An investment opportunity

An investment opportunity

The fact that the Northwick Road site was included within the out of date 1998 Local Plan, and remains undeveloped, may indicate the lack of actual business confidence in the area.

Despite the Nathaniel Litchfield Castle Point Employment and Retail Needs Assessment identifies that “it would appear difficult to achieve any sizeable reduction in out-commuting in Castle Point. However various approaches could help avoid the situation worsening. These would include providing some more immediately available industrial sites in the North of the Borough, near strategic roads and adopting measures to encourage their development and occupation.”

“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.”

The housing growth / business growth distribution across the Borough will be examined by the Inspector at Examination of the Local Plan, as it was during the Core Strategy and was found wanting.

If our local authority officers are responsible for our daft New Local Plan, why would they risk making the same mistakes?

The Local Plan is proposing to increase the development of business to justify the proposals encouraging large housing development in a Flood Risk area.

Canvey Islanders have for years been re-assured that no risk of surface water flooding exists, the CPBC Surface Water Management Plan was celebrated at Cabinet as proof! Likewise Essex Highways identify little capacity issues on the roads at the south of the Borough. Whilst Canvey is the most densely urbanised part of the Borough, it is suggested the infrastructure is able to cope whilst it is apparent;  the same aspirational highway improvement promises are carried forward from the 1998 Plan to the current new daft Local plan version, primary / junior school places are at a premium, the drainage system is at breaking point!

Likely we will end up as a Sustainable Urban Drainage experiment.

During the ill-fated Core Strategy process it was clear that political factors were responsible. The Local Plan process provides less clarity, the driving factors work in less apparent ways.  Almost as if dark forces are at work, in the corridors and the committee rooms of Runnymede.

Whilst we were promised more openness and transparency, residents’ apathy allows the Local Plan process to edge slowly towards the distasteful final stages whilst decision makers hide behind policies that promote less sustainable policies.

It appears that Canvey Island Green Belt is expendable.


One response to “The link between Green Belt Housing and Business Growth – why is it targetted for Canvey Island?

  1. Extract from :-
    National Planning Policy Framework
    Impact assessment

    “Relaxation of planning rules for change of use from commercial to

    Problem under consideration/rationale for intervention

    It is recognised that there is an urgent need to increase the rate of house building in England and to make housing supply more responsive to changes in demand. The Government believes that there is an opportunity to contribute to meeting housing need by recognising the scope for
    allowing changes of use from commercial to residential to take place more easily. There is a shortage of housing land nationally, as revealed by the relative value of land for housing compared to its value in other uses – in some cases housing land is twice the price of that available for commercial uses. Making it easier for land to be used for its most valuable purpose where appropriate in terms of the Local Plan, whilst still protecting against damaging spill-over effects, will increase economic efficiency and overall welfare.”

    This fact was clarified within Castle Point chamber not so long ago. It would be easy to plan ahead for the demolition of the run down existing Charfleets Industrial complex to make provision for a New Housing Estate. If this is what’s being considered, then I would politely suggest that those Councillors with interests make their declaration when these new sites are being deliberated upon.

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