Our local councillors wonder why so few residents engage with their debates by attending committee meetings, need only watch last evening’s Task and Finish webcast of themselves.
The Lead group of councillors, having reluctantly produced and approved the daft New Local Plan for consultation, spent time suggesting broad reasons why the sites chosen for housing were now unacceptable.
This suggested they felt they were no further forward with the Local Plan since the withdrawal of the Core Strategy in 2011.
Generally the majority on all sides appeared to be in agreement over the constraining aspects of mainland sites at Jotmans, Glebelands and Glyders and it appeared progress with the Plan would be difficult at local authority level.
The discussion on the Dutch Village site changed the mood as Persimmon’s application meant those members who were also members of the development committee could not be specific with what they said, in case they pre-judged the pending proposal for the site.
One Canvey councillor attempted to challenge the Sustainability Appraisal officers had produced in support of the Council’s promotion of the Dutch Village development. The traffic light system that in some cases showed 2 Red Lights against development where car use was measured, gave only 1 Red Light against development where Flood Risk is concerned.
Going onto query Castle Point’s “unusual” method of applying the Sequential Test, as indicated by the Environment Agency, which should see housing directed away from Flood Risk 3 zones, the chairman and Lead Group councillors apparently lost interest somewhere during the dialogue.
The method of application of the Sequential Test supported the Lead Group’s choice of proposing the only release of Green Belt for housing to be at Canvey Island within the Core Strategy, so it is probably obvious why mainland representatives showed a disregard for this part of the “debate.
Interestingly with so many councillors deemed to have an interest and excluded from Local Plan work that one member, a governor of a nearby school expected to benefit from a new access road and apparently supportive of the Dutch Village proposal, was not considered to have an interest.
Obviously with a legal officer in attendance no interest was necessary to be declared.
Interestingly evidence has appeared that the Hazard Range from the Calor site covers much of Canvey Island, and yet no indication is shown within the CPBC Sustainability Appraisal!
The final point for discussion appeared more popular, a 3 storey, 60 room care home on the site of the garden centre at Canvey Road. Whilst it can be agreed that the area may need this facility, the chumminess of the discussion disguised the absurdity of planning a home for the less able in an area subject to potential flooding, within the hazard range of the Calor site, opposite a busy junction and industrial site, abutting the approach road to a major supermarket with direct access to the Roscommon Way race track!
And we wonder why part of the 2013 and 2014 flooding problems for Canvey were put down to bad planning decisions.
Wednesday meeting promises more of the same as it includes the local authority’s choice to develop Thorney Bay, we assume discussion will also be stifled due to the current unresolved planning proposal.
Pic courtesy: rgbstock.com