A “proposed” new development of Flats for Canvey Island that WILL receive Approval from Castle Point Council reveals 3 serious issues.
Firstly it is correct to point out that the proposed Flats are in the Canvey Island town centre, and if anywhere is to be developed here is more appropriate so as to assist the regeneration of the town centre Retail outlets, under threat from out of town local authority preferences.
The first issue is the continued increase in population in the Flood Risk Zone of Canvey Island. Castle Point councillors and officers appear to be relaxed and show little moral concern in locating more and more people into an area at some risk of both surface water and tidal flooding.
Secondly a point given no relevance by the same Castle Point members and officers is that Canvey Island, being a FLOOD Plain is reliant on its sea defences.
These sea defences will need to be raised and improved prior to the year 2100, as clearly explained by the area’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, to prevent potential over-topping! The potential for a breach in the defences remains.
Whilst the Environment Agency, recognising Canvey Island is a “special case”, emit the music to Castle Point’s ears “have no objection to the proposals”, however in this case feel it of the most importance to make very clear to our Local Authority the uncertainty that faces Canvey Island’s sea defence!
The EA warns;
“The TE2100 Plan is an aspirational document, rather than a definitive policy, so whether the defences are raised in the future will be dependent on a cost benefit analysis and the required funding becoming available.”
“When determining the safety of the proposed development, you should take this uncertainty over the future flood defences and level of flood protection into account.
This may require consideration of whether obtaining the funds necessary to enable the defences to be raised in line with climate change is achievable.”
Thirdly, much has been said about the benefits and protection that the Flood Re insurance scheme delivers. However this scheme will NOT benefit residential properties built post January 2009!
As a director of the Flood Re scheme pointed out to the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group, the idea of the insurance scheme is NOT to encourage development in Flood Zones!
Going by previous development committee meetings you will not hear these 3 matters discussed. Officers will make a strong point of informing members that the Environment Agency “have no objection to the proposals”.
Consequently, the level of population of Canvey Island at Risk from Flooding, continues to Grow!