Work carried out at Catherine Road Benfleet woodland!

“Work” at Catherine Road, Benfleet will be a test to the claim, of the level of protection that a Local Plan offers Castle Point.

These photos were taken of work undertaken on woodland, currently within the Borough’s Green Belt as identified in the current Local Plan.

It would hardly be classed as coppicing!

pic1pic pic2

The site sits close by land allocated for housing delivery within the emerging, but more importantly un-adopted Castle Point Council draft New Local Plan.

We are told by senior councillors that having a Local Plan in place offers protection to sites that residents consider unsuitable for development. This is possibly destructive action taken to promote this as developable. Whether councillors having sent the draft Local Plan out for consultation and then apparently having a change of mind during the December council meeting encouraged the owners to take action is open to conjecture.

This can only be viewed as an apparent destructive action by the owners and it will be interesting to see what ensues.

Devaluing a sites environmental credentials should not sway a Planning Committee or Planning Inspector, although it may add some weight.

The potential for recovery of the land to previous status would be harmed with the erection of the environmental barriers we are used to seeing on Canvey.

It will be most interesting to learn the opinion of the CPBC enforcement officer, who was apparently called to the site soon after work commenced and was informed the intention was to remove dead trees and dangerous branches .

Photo Credits; Heather Spicer and Neil Warren


6 responses to “Work carried out at Catherine Road Benfleet woodland!

  1. Cllr Bill Sharp

    It is not part of the land in the draft local plan for housing delivery .. This is a disgraceful piece of ecological barbarism ..

    • Thanks for making clear this particular site is not part of the draft Local Plan. It was assumed this may have formed part of the site known as H9.
      Happy to print correction.

  2. So much for having an Environmental Impact Assessment. How much weight is given to pre planning consultation meeting at the Castle Point Planning Offices we will never know. It would seem that this sort of destruction of our natural resource happens far to often to be a misunderstanding. This site looks far from previously developed and it would not be unreasonable to assume that it had some considerable green belt value.
    Nothing is sacred and no one can be trusted.

  3. A local Benfleet resident and campaigner against Green Belt development has updated; “It appears the enforcement officer is on site, however, instead of acting to protect the site, a site afforded protection by its LoWS status, he is stating that the site forms part of H9, and so is effectively giving permission to clear it! This is NOT THE CASE! H9 is part of the DRAFT local plan… it is not policy and has not been voted in!”

  4. Reblogged this on and commented:

    Having been admonished for the information in the original Blog post, I will only say that I believe the parcel of land in question is close to what Castle Point Council recognise within a development proposal as Land Adj To Felstead Road And Bowers Road Benfleet Essex.
    Within the developer’s supporting evidence are these proposals. Clearly the intention, should development be allowed, is to treat the existing woodlands with an element of sympathy.
    It causes residents great concern for the future of their locality, to see what appears such heavy handed destructive actions.
    “The majority of South Benfleet is urbanised with pockets of woodland (including areas of ancient semi-natural woodland) interspersed between the residential areas.
    Inland from Benfleet Creek, on higher ground, are pockets of woodland, most notably Great Wood and Dodd’s Grove, Thundersley Great Common and Coombe Wood – all of which lie between the north and north-east of the site. Immediately to the north of the site, lies Kent Hill Wood, which is a fragment of possible ancient woodland and designated as a Local Wildlife Site by Castle Point Borough Council
    Biodiversity and ecology – to protect, enhance, expand, manage and maintain the biodiversity and ecology will be a core objective. Considerate design with professional advice and thorough management plans will ensure the long term success of the biodiversity and ecology.
    Education – the Community Woodland will be an educational resource for all who visit, particularly school children from the nearby primary schools. The entire woodland will act as an outdoor learning space, allowing school classes, community groups and more to learn about the natural environment.”

  5. The Officer was incorrect editor . The term H 9 was used by officers to define an area . I believe unfairly and incorrectly as the three sites within it are completely separate . 1, London Road application approved in late 2012 2, this piece of woodland which has no application and I do jig niece is even in the SHLAA
    3, the site known as land between Felsted and Bowers Road( Redrow) which has had an application refused and is part of the draft local plan which goes to members for deliberation on the 26th January .
    I was not admonishing you purely correcting you , as I would hate fiction to become fact purely by repetition …..

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