Contrasting the Canvey Island and the mainland development approaches by Castle Point Council.
The next Castle Point Development Committee, Tuesday 6th September, will meet to consider two particular development proposals that are sensitive to the two parts of the Borough, it is interesting to note the contrasting recommendations by officers.
One is for a 24 flats and 2 retail units development on Canvey Island and the other in Thundersley for the construction of 2 storey block of six self-contained flats.
The Canvey proposal is on the High Street and nearby the Town Centre, so should raise little opposition except parking and any flood risk issues perhaps.
The development committee agenda paperwork contains;
Regarding flooding from Tidal Sources, a breach in the sea defences meaning a potential to flood the area with between 0.5 and 2.0 metres depth of flood water. CPBC’s approach to allowing development in the Flood Risk Zone relies upon;
“In a very broad sense the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement.”
With regard to surface water drainage problems the Essex Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) considers that; “the submitted Flood Risk Assessment does not provide details on how the surface water runoff from the new development will be managed on site and not increase offsite flooding. Canvey Island is identified as a ‘Critical Drainage Area.”
The LLFA concludes; “Having reviewed the Flood Risk Assessment, Flood Response Plan and associated documents which accompanied the planning application, we would like to place a holding objection to the granting of planning permission”.
Despite this Holding Objection regarding Flood Risk, CPBC officers conclude “It is not therefore considered that the LLFA holding objection is fatal to the development of the site or the determination of this application.”
Inevitably where car parking is concerned CPBC standards leave much to be desired. Essex CC requirement is for 56 spaces including the retail requirement, against the proposed 24 spaces.
The need for housing on Canvey Island leads the CPBC officers to Recommend Approval of the development Application.
In the case of the Thundersley proposal for Flats, it is noted that the area is in part of the Green Belt. However the site contains an unused surgery at present – previously developed.
CPBC officers consider that there are no exceptional circumstances put forward to allow harm to this part of the Green Belt. Housing Need, does not constitute exceptional circumstances necessary to permit development. Whilst the officers summary refers to the Adopted 1998 Local Plan, it does not reference either the daft New Local Plan nor the Local Plan 2016.
In the case of the Canvey flatted proposal both the Adopted and the 2016 versions are cited.
The Thundersley proposal had previously been refused on 4 reasons, the officers consider 2 reasons have been overcome with another a achievable through conditions. This left the Green Belt issue.
Officers Recommendation is for Refusal.
A point of interest may be the lack of reference to any comparable need in Thundersley, and the mainland in general, to sustaining the area, in direct contrast to any Canvey development proposals.
Also on the agenda is consideration of the re-updated Plans for the King Canute ex public house building and site. Once again CPBC officers recommend Approval for the proposal and again site that “the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement” in defence of their findings.
Locals will be aware that the junction where the Canute is sited with the adjoining retail premises block, traffic lights and the Haven Road extension of Roscommon Way already causes congestion problems. The creation of more flats, houses, veterinary practice and more retail premises will only add to the congestion problems especially with those wishing to leave the Island at this particularly busy area.
The CPBC officers have listed 35 conditions should the councillors approve the Canute proposal.
None of these conditions refer to retaining and protecting the front aspect of the King Canute building.
Locally the loss of the Bell Hotel in Leigh was reported by the Echo “Workmen have been renovating the long-empty landmark and replacing it with flats but earlier this week, the roof caved in.”
The unfortunate loss of the Light house during the demolition / construction works at the Oyster Fleet, should also serve as a caution.
Essex Heritage in their Historic Urban Characterisation Report of Canvey Island consider the Canute, Canvey Village village area as already having traffic issues and being a Heritage Asset, thus;
“It is important to preserve the character of Canvey Village and in particular its historic assets. A high volume of traffic passes through this area along the A130 Canvey Road accessing other parts of the island.”
” An interpretation board outside the King Canute is well researched but is easy to miss and is located at the busy Canvey Road / Haven Road junction, not an ideal place for visitors to linger.”
“Historic assets should be preserved and enhanced with more interpretation and much has already been done towards this aim. There is however a sense of being unable to enjoy the area as the volume of traffic is heavy along its main thoroughfare and parking is limited. More could be made of the Heritage Centre if the parking issue could be addressed.”
And finally:- “King Canute Public House. Located on Canvey Road in the Village area. Of no architectural importance but important historically.”
Oh but for a Canvey Island Neighbourhood Plan perhaps!
Perhaps the Canvey councillors should insist that the Borough is considered in planning matters equally, rather than in the preferred isolationist method that is currently employed!
“In a very broad sense the continued development of Canvey Island is necessary to sustain the local community and prevent the social and economic blight of the settlement.” REALLY?
Light house photograph copyright of CanveyIsland.org the Canvey Community Archive group