The news that Costa Coffee will be opening a Drive Through establishment, alongside a garden centre and 4 other “non food” outlets, on Canvey Island has been received as a Good News story.
Indeed the land, owned by Castle Point Council, will bring in much desperately needed funds.
Whether the Canvey Town Council should be quite so welcoming is open to question though. It may be considered that the expansion of “out of town” retail trade in a constricted area such as Canvey, may have consequences in the Town Centre.
Already struggling due to the high rents, empty shops are difficult to let, despite this small enterprises have invested heavily in cafes along Canvey High Road and Furtherwick Road and evidence shows these to be popular with residents. These cafes add to what little “draw” that the town Centre offers. Hopefully our Town Council considered this and had some conviction that the expansion of the retail area at West Canvey would not be to the detriment of the Town Centre.
This is something that Southend Council are giving deep thought to where the re-siting of Southend Utd Football Club, with the retail and hotel development alongside, is concerned. I understand that the Southend agreement will involve some substantial compensatory payment towards Town Centre improvements.
It would be nice to think that a sum has been discussed and suggested for an injection towards Canvey Town Centre regeneration by our local councillors.
Furthermore, alongside this new retail site, the other “Land opposite Morrisons” site and the extension to Charfleets Industrial site, with these 3 new developments Castle Point Council should be seeking funding for future sea defence improvements.
Whether the population of Canvey is large enough to spread their expenditure across new retail sites in large enough amounts to maintain both an expanding out of town centre plus the Town Centre, is open to question. That retail establishments generally appear to rely on moderate earning and part time employees does not see this latest enterprise as an essential asset to local employment.
Fortunately it appears that the question of surface water flood risk has been “raised” by the Essex Lead Local Flood Authority, pointing out the increased responsibilities that CPBC have, or should be, undertaking.
“The South Essex Surface Water Management Plan 2012 identifies Canvey Island as Critical Drainage Area. Given its low lying nature, land on Canvey is subject to surface water flooding and any development proposals at this site need to be designed to achieve resilience and resistance to flood risk.”
We had hoped our concerns regarding Land Raising had been adopted but no mention of this in the Canvey Town Council comment. The new development intends to raise the on-site ground levels by 1 Metre!
“Excavations into existing made ground and the underlying natural soils should be assumed to be unstable.
It is recommended that in order to reduce the possibility of softening or swelling of cohesive soils at the base of foundation trenches, it should be suitably blinded with concrete.”
Developers comments that might raise some concern locally as to what degree of seriousness Flood risk is taken.
“The application site is considered one of the best performing allocated undeveloped sites in terms of strategic accessibility, and benefits from good local access via Roscommon Way and its Extension, but it is still considered relatively isolated from public transport.”
Good local access via Roscommon Way, but perhaps much less so where Waterside Roundabout is concerned. More evidence that this site will be reliant on Canvey residents support.
It could soon be argued that what we need to support these newly proposed “and welcomed” enterprises, is a larger population!