In response to Castle Point Council’s re-branding of its new New draft Local Plan, The “New Local Plan 2016”, Canvey Green Belt Campaign group will consider whether it should respond likewise.
A new more relaxed approach from contributors. A website re-branding. How does CGBC2016 sound?
With summer fast approaching, we are considering whether we can now take a “sit back – feet up” approach, content in the knowledge that Canvey Island Green Belt is safe and protected from development.
The CPBC Council Agenda, for the 23rd March states;
7.1 The New Local Plan 2016 based on the decision taken by Council on 24th February 2016 has been prepared. It remains in a format to follow the structure of the NPPF, employing the same thematic chapter headings. This will help to ensure that the plan is compliant with the NPPF, meeting the final test of soundness identified earlier in this report.
7.2 Each chapter includes strategic policies setting out the Council’s overall approach to the issue under consideration. Where appropriate, the strategic policies are followed by allocation policies which set out the spatial aspects of the Council’s strategy. Finally, a series of development management policies are included within each chapter which explain the considerations the Council will apply when considering planning applications for development.
7.3 The following sections of this report will highlight the main policy changes compared to draft New Local Plan 2014.
The Council has resolved to maintain and prioritise the protection of the Green Belt in the Borough (with the exception of New Proposal Site H8 (formerly H9) on land at 396 to 408 London Road with a capacity of 81 dwellings, New Proposal Site H9 (formerly H11) on land south of Daws Heath with a capacity of 180 dwellings, and New Proposal Site H10 (formerly H17) on land on the west side of Canvey Road for a Care Home).
The New Local Plan 2016 therefore seeks to deliver approximately 2,000 homes (100 homes per annum) within Castle Point in the period 2011 to 2031, as agreed by the Council at its meeting of 24th February 2016.
Delivery of Dwellings at Canvey Island is proposed to include:
New H10 (Former H17) – Land Fronting Canvey Road, Canvey Island – 50 residential care beds
8.27 Land in this location was designated Green Belt in the 1998 Adopted Local Plan. This site is however previously developed, and has been promoted by the landowners for redevelopment as a residential care home.
8.28 This site is slightly removed from existing residential areas of Canvey Island, and is not considered to be the most appropriate location for residential development from an accessibility perspective.
The site is on a bus route and nearby employment opportunities at Charfleets Industrial Estate and is therefore appropriately located in this regard.
8.29 The site itself is not environmentally constrained, with the exception of flood risk. In terms of flood risk, it will be necessary for any development to be flood resistant and flood resilient and for bedspaces to be located above ground floor level.
8.30 The Whole Plan Viability Assessment indicates that residential care developments are viable within Castle Point. Furthermore, one of the landowners owns a residential care home elsewhere and would therefore be likely to operate the home proposed for this site.
H5 – Land at Thorney Bay Caravan Park, Canvey Island – 600 homes
8.9 Land in this location was safeguarded for housing in the 1998 Adopted Local Plan. The New Local Plan 2016 repeats this earlier designation. A resolution to grant outline consent for the redevelopment of this site for residential
purposes was made by the Development Control Committee in February 2013. An application for phase 1 of the development comprising 117 dwellings has also been received and is under consideration.
8.10 The proposed extension to Roscommon Way linking Haven Road with Western Esplanade runs through this site. This section of the site is safeguarded for the provision of the road.
H6 – Land at Point Road, Canvey Island – 160 homes
8.11 Land in this location was designated for residential purposes in the 1998 Adopted Local Plan. The New Local Plan 2016 repeats this earlier designation. A resolution to grant consent for the redevelopment of the western section of this site for 99 dwellings was made by the Development Control Committee in July 2013, but was ultimately refused permission in 2014, because negotiations on the Section 106 Agreement had not progressed. Assessments carried out by officers indicate that the slightly smaller eastern portion of the site could accommodate around a further 60 units.
Regardless of the fact that the “previous” New Local Plan had not run its full course with regards to Final Consultation and an ensuing Public Examination etc etc, the Agenda reveals that the process is under funded;
14.6 The Council had previously established a specific reserve for local plan development costs, of £250,000. By the end of 2014/15 only approximately £35,800 remained unspent. The further stages of plan preparation are likely to cost in the region of £190,000 for publicity, a Programme Officer and examination costs. The additional costs of £154,200 would need to make available from reserves.
Given that 2,000 Dwellings, at an average rate of 100 dwellings per annum, appears to be the new Housing target, the proposed 760 dwellings at Thorney Bay and The Point, plus the 50 residential care homes on Canvey Island does appear to be a high proportion within the 3a Flood Risk Zone. It may be that a Planning Inspector may view this level of growth poorly distributed, considering the size of the Island in relationship to the Borough.
It also appears that, despite the Agenda papers’ reference to the Local Plan’s Task and Finish group’s apparently exhaustive consideration of the Constraints on development, Flood Risk and the Hazardous Industries were discounted! Focussing entirely on Green Belt as the single Constraint.
But this is not a time to be pessimistic, we have a new Local Plan, and a tight schedule
Pre- Submission Consultation – May, June 2016 (6 weeks)
Submission – August 2016
Examination – November 2016
Inspectors Report – January 2017
Adoption – February 2017
Bish – Bash – Bosh, sounds simple, so simple that we must wonder what councillors and officers have been doing for the previous 9 years!
Of course developers may be not quite so keen on how the Housing Growth Distribution looks once the dust has settled, if the dust does actually settle. After all legal challenges are not uncommon, perhaps that is why officers drew attention to continued Local Plan funding needing to come from Council reserves!
With the redirection of the emerging Local Plan re-focussing away from Green Belt development, it will be interesting to note whether certain councillors, previously excluded from Local Plan proceedings due to their having interests, will now be welcomed back into the chamber!
As far as the Canvey Green Belt Campaign Group is concerned, the opportunity to take the summer away from concerns regarding Green Belt and development as a whole, appears irresistible.
Which might suggest we have full confidence in the new New Local Plan, and expect developers Persimmon and Golden Circle to bid a hasty retreat in the light of this new document.
On the other hand, perhaps a watching brief and a different approach is called for.
Now it’s our turn to say it, “Watch this Space!”