Persimmon’s proposal to develop the Dutch Village fields has recently received added inducements to tempt the Castle Point council Development Committee members to support the scheme.
The inducements come under the guise of additional evidence in support of the Very Special Circumstances required to allow development, and come in the form of;
Safe Vehicle Access to Cornelius Vermuyden School
Additional Leisure services at Waterside Leisure Centre
A Pelican Crossing across Canvey Way (?) to the RSPB reserve
Lack of 5 year housing supply
Surface Water Drainage and Evacuation Zone
Public Open Space and Ecological Mitigation Land
Scheduled Ancient Monument Enhancements
Persimmon’s document draws attention to the existing surface water drainage problems on site and the possibility of “a major flood!”
In the circumstances the identification of the Dutch Village as site high on the list of sites suitable for development, appears questionable.
The offer of vehicular access to the senior school appears to encourage laziness of pupils and obesity due to lack of basic walking to school exercise. The timing of the submission of this latest inducement document is somewhat questionable. The Report refers to a meeting having taken place between Persimmon’s agents and CPBC during October 2015. As we are aware debates on the CPBC Local Plan took place during December 2015 and January 27th 2016, this additional Report was added to the Planning Portal (made public) February 3rd.
It could be questioned by some that if this information had become available just a few days earlier, one of the main supporters of the now rejected draft New Local Plan may have been required to declare an Interest given how strict the Interests consideration had been applied for the meeting, being a Governor of the School likely to benefit from the proposed new road access.
Persimmon’s Report acknowledges that unmet Housing Need is unlikely to constitute a Very Special Circumstance to justify inappropriate development in the Green Belt, as Castle Point residents have learned through recent Planning Inquiries.
Despite this the report’s author then goes onto examine the meaning of the word “unlikely” and how the word suggests that there will be some rare occasions when housing need will constitute a Very Special Circumstance.
It may be reasonable also to suggest that if Green Belt land in the same Borough outside of a Flood Zone did not constitute the necessary Very Special Circumstances (VSC) to allow development, then Green Belt land inside the Flood Zone should also not be considered to constitute the VSC’s necessary!
The little used RSPB Reserve, has a badly sited entrance, likely to become more dangerous with the approval of the Business Development sites off of Roscommon Way. I have pointed out the dangers to officers on more than one occasion. The offer of a Pelican Crossing is inadequate and will remain a danger to youngsters attempting to cross the dual carriageway Canvey Road. Will this encourage more to attend the RSPB reserve, is questionable.
Development Committee members will be aware of the financial difficulties developers have in even providing the agreed level of Affordable Housing, following their agreeing to cut the requirement at the apparently affluent Kiln Road development.
The list of inducements at the Dutch Village may equally be difficult for the developer to supply.
These now include amongst others;
A new Roundabout access on Canvey Road
Sustainable Urban Drainage System
Affordable Housing contribution
A Pelican Crossing to the RSPB Reserve
In an area with lower market House Price Values than elsewhere in the Borough.
Will Persimmon also be expected to contribute to the Sea Defence funding? Something that appears to have gone off of the S106 Agreement Radar of late!