Assuming that our Borough councillors should not have been living in some other “WORLD” it would be difficult to imagine those not involved with the Local Plan Task and Finish group work not having some idea of how the daft New Local Plan will affect Castle Point.
That the full Council awaits a recommendation from the Task and Finish group should have little consequence, after all the group meetings have been webcast.
That is except those meetings held in secret or, so as to not upset some of our more sensitive councillors, in private!
Given that our councillors asked for residents votes so that they may be allowed to represent all of the Borough’s residents, it should not be beyond reason that they should be reasonably up to date and aware of the processes of the Local Plan to allow them to be in the position to have formed “some” level of opinion on the current Plan.
Having followed proceedings of the task and Finish group I don’t think I am being unkind to say that there have been some fairly entrenched positions adopted.
Officers, chairman, the deputy leader and at least one other, support the current Plan, one councillor giving less indication of his position, with a small majority opposing the Plan.
The Task and Finish group are only required to give a recommendation for presentation to the full council, however given the effort to exert pressure on the T and F members some considerable implications may arise. Otherwise why the level of pressure to recommend the Challis, Smith and Stanley, Local Plan?
Knowingly or not, this is a test of our councillors resolve, are they testicularly challenged enough to weaken and give in to a Plan they are clearly uncomfortable with, or will they represent residents views and reject this Challis legacy?
There, apparently, is another option that may, given time, offer a more balanced distribution of housing delivery. If mainland residents are supportive of this option then exhaustive exploration of this possibility deserves due consideration. Up until now the feedback from County seems to have been influenced by County councillors and officers making limp enquiries that receive negative responses that they seek.
The position regarding Canvey appears to have been pre determined, only made worse since the Core Strategy documentation. So there appears little to lose in our councillors forcefully rejecting the daft New Local Plan, even if an alternative Plan leads to delay.