A decision that can only be described as A-m-a-z-i-n-g for the residents of Jotmans farm, as they will be relieved to hear that the Secretary of State has overturned the Planning Inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for the initial 265 dwellings proposed by Persimmon’s!
Despite the Secretary of State considering that Castle Point Council have only identified 0.4 years Supply of the necessary 5.0 Year Supply of Deliverable Housing, which he considered as “falling well short of expectation”!
The SoS “further agrees with the Inspector that the proposal would bring forward market and affordable housing in an area where there has been a longstanding failure to provide sufficient new housing, and that in view of the prevailing housing supply situation in Castle Point, that carries very substantial weight in favour of the scheme.”
And that he ” agrees with the Inspector that the ecological benefits attract significant weight in favour of the proposal.”
However in relation to Green Belt issues the SoS considers “The proposal would represent inappropriate development in the Green Belt of a significant size. It would permanently reduce openness, and conflict with several of the purposes of designation. These harmful impacts on the Green Belt attract substantial weight.”
Then using Planning rules more intended for Travellers “unauthorised sites” than settled dwellings the SoS applies great weight to the rule that “subject to the best interests of the child, personal circumstances and unmet need are unlikely to clearly outweigh harm to the Green Belt and any other harm so as to establish very special circumstances”.
This “Good News Story” for cpbc, despite the obvious response from cynics that the Secretary of State’s release of the decision of an Appeal held on the 11 September 2015, during the very same week of an announcement to hold a General Election, is conveniently “Timely”, Green Belt campaigners will take some comfort, albeit possibly temporary.
The fear remains that with a new 5 year term of government the likelihood of a Legal challenge in light of Castle Point’s chronic lack of a 5 Year deliverable Housing Supply, may yet be our undoing!
Canvey Island residents must therefore remain concerned that, in the eyes of the majority of cpbc development committee members, Flood Risk does not act as a Constraint on development, making this part of the Borough more liable to growth as has been the case over the previous 4 decades!
In the light of this decision, the actions of CPBC to Withdraw its Local Plan2016 and to Archive the Plan document and Evidence Base, must be of some concern!
The hope now is that similar ruling and defence of Green Belt will apply across Castle Point, congestion will not be increased and the Local Plan2016 may be resurrected.
The link to Secretary of State’s decision and Inspector’s report is below.
Photograph courtesy; Echo newspaper