There were we thinking this Blog was being referenced during the Planning Committee meeting, when all along the Castle Point officer was probably referring to the councillor reported in the Echo as saying that the Roscommon Way business development was Green Belt.
One of our recent posts on the subject had made the point of stating similar, but had made the important point of using lower case g’s and s’ !
Whilst the area under consideration is green and has environmental value and neighbours the SSSI area, it is not Green Belt. This should be of some concern to Castle Point residents as it indicates the fragility of the defensive mechanism of Green Belt status.
This status has already been challenged legally in Castle Point as the local authority chose not to save its Green Belt policy, relying on the Local Plan options map to protect the areas status, when re-saving parts of the 1998 Local Plan.
During the development committee meeting we were also treated to other less than correct, precise ramblings of members such as;
On the expected extra traffic congestion the Business Park will cause:
The councillor who has a trouble free commute to his work premises travelling down the hill onto Canvey, claiming right of way over the 4 lanes queuing to get out of Somnes Avenue, and then claiming similar rights of way over those commuters returning home along Canvey Way attempting to enter Waterside Roundabout saying, the development will not add to traffic problems!
Then again the same councillor stated these potential 500 jobs will be local jobs for local people.
Local houses for local people argument doesn’t appear to hold up in practise, but the same old rhetoric continues to be used.
Another councillor who told members that he moved to Canvey when he married and always commuted off the Island for work, as did his children, but now he expects his grandchildren to have the right to expect to work on Canvey.
We must now wonder whether residents in the mainland ward he represents will be interested where his priorities lie, when issues of local housing and local green space for local people are up for consideration.
The route of the two major accident hazard pipelines however, must remain a mystery. The committee, those that showed the slightest interest, were told the maps showing their positions were available, but apparently not for this committee’s viewing.
It was pointed out by the “professional” officers that the Roscommon Way business application sought permission in “principle.”
By approving this proposal we assume that as it approved permission to “Land Raise” the site by 600 mm, the principle of Land Raising was also established on Canvey Island “In Principle.”
A case of the Development Committee creating Local Plan policies?
On the concerns of drainage at the approved site, there appeared a pre-meeting session between some members, officer and developers had effectively concluded that the proposed drainage model would not add to drainage problems faced by the Island.
Permeable surfaces would be used. The CPBC SFRA states that;
“Permeable paving prevents runoff during low intensity rainfall, however, during intense rainfall events some runoff may occur from these surfaces.”
Attenuation Urban Drainage techniques would be used to control the flow of water from the site into the drainage system. Little reference was made to this being in the form of a Pond.
On Canvey, with its high water table, the introduction of a pond may be of similar effect as lowering a bowl full of water into a bath of water, the overall water table will rise.
“Ponds and wetlands trap silt that may need to be removed periodically”, the recent report into the Canvey Island flooding of 2014 revealed that the lack of maintenance in the Canvey drainage system was a major factor in the level of flood damage caused.
The option of installing the more expensive option of a pumped system, similar to the one employed apparently successfully by Morrisons Supermarket, appears now to have been disregarded.
In conclusion I will reproduce an “opinion” from the CPBC Strategic Flood Risk Assessment copy in our possession;
“The results from the increased scope Level 2 SFRA have confirmed that the southern part of Castle Point, namely Canvey Island and the Hadleigh Marshes area are at significant risk of tidal flooding.
In the event that a breach in the existing flood defences was to occur, or a failure of one of the existing flood barriers (residual risk), significant depths of floodwater would be experienced on Canvey Island and the southern portion of the mainland. Given the low lying nature of these parts of the borough, floodwaters would propagate rapidly across Canvey Island thereby reducing the time for warning and evacuation of residents.
In addition, it has been identified that parts of Canvey Island are at actual risk of flooding due to the level of protection of the existing defences”
No regard to this Flood Risk was expressed, the decision and responsibility for this Risk is entirely the development committee members concern.
It is clear that if this development realises the levels of employment suggested there will be an extra 1,000+ vehicle movements per day. Business development is of a lower category of flood risk than dwelling houses, however the levels of traffic created, if ever there was to be an emergency incident, would exacerbate the problems in carrying out an evacuation.
In the meantime let us all look forward to the new prosperity and work opportunities for Canvey residents.