Fair Play for Canvey Island in the light of the Jotmans Decision or are we still a “Special Case”?

And the Necessity for Castle Point Borough Council to produce a Local Plan is?

“National planning policy places Local Plans at the heart of the planning system,”

Even so, the National Planning Policy Framework states as early as Paragraph 14;

“Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless:

– any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole;

or– specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted. 9

Paragraph 14, Footnote 9 Reads; “For example, those policies relating to sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives (see paragraph 119) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast or within a National Park (or the Broads Authority); designated heritage assets; and locations at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.”

“so it is essential that they are in place and kept up to date. Local Plans set out a vision and a framework for the future development of the area, addressing needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure – as well as a basis for safeguarding the environment, adapting to climate change and securing good design.”

The Secretary of State’s decision to dismiss the Jotmans Farm Appeal in the light of the Inspector’s recommendation, raises some questions.

Is the Planning Inspectorate’s reading of the NPPF and Guidance similar to that of the Government’s?

There was agreement between the SoS and the Inspector that, Castle Point Council are only able to identify 0.4 years worth of the required 5 Year deliverable Housing Supply, this is an even worse supply than in 2013 when the SoS considered cpbc had a realistic housing supply of just 0.7 years!

In the case of the Glebelands 2013 Inquiry the SoS used a “totting-up” method of measuring harm to the Green Belt;

“the Secretary of State has identified moderate harm in respect of urban sprawl, moderate harm in respect of the merging of neighbouring settlements, and moderate harm to the visual appearance of this part of the GB.  The Secretary of State considers that together this represents a considerable level of harm. ”

” He also wishes to emphasise that national policy is very clear that GB reviews should be undertaken as part of the Local Plan process.”

So we appear to be in a situation where, as long as Castle Point council are in an apparent perpetual process of Local Plan making, the whole of the local Green Belt can be considered safe from development!

Residents should now be looking for a new, up to date cpbc Green Belt Review, based on the SoS’ guidance and embracing the protection afforded by Footnote 9 of the NPPF.

As was pointed out earlier in this post;

“Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, … unless: – ….  specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted – For example, those policies relating to …. land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, … and locations at risk of flooding.”

This appears to be the clear desire of the Secretary of State’s interpretation of planning direction. The archived cpbc Green Belt Review was dated 2013 and produced in-house in support of the rejected daft New Local Plan, and clearly out of line with the Secretary of State’s consideration of  levels of “harm.” A new GB Review should be commissioned urgently, indicating the protection available through NPPF Policies and Guidance!

It would appear that the Castle Point council’s Local Plan2016, despite their failure to comply with the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring local authorities, may have been more in tune with the Secretary of State’s interpretation of what is possible with Local Plan-making and stood a chance of being considered adoptable. Whilst an Inspector may feel the Local Plan2016 was worthy of withdrawal, seeking intervention via the Secretary of State, may supply a different decision, once the Duty to Cooperate has been complied.

More importantly, with Canvey Island in mind, is that NPPF Footnote 9 offers no  difference in the weight and importance that should be applied when considering whether a site is appropriate for development between that of Green Belt or Flood Risk!

Only in the minds of those in Control of Decision-making within Castle Point council, is Canvey Island deemed a “special case”!

If not now, then I do not know when, given the position of the cpbc Local Plan, and the direction given by the SoS, it would be more Timely and more Appropriate for Canvey Island Town Council to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan!

The Secretary of State is clear Footnote 9 should be applied to protect Green Belt from Harm.

It is obvious that an area within a Flood Risk Zone and with unresolved Surface Water Flooding issues, can expect that same level of protection using Neighbourhood Plan Policies under-pinned by that same Footnote 9!

Quite simply Canvey Island is thought to be unlikely to Flood. This is supported by no factual Evidence, simply that it is “unlikely”. The continual loss of Green Space to development on Canvey that serves as potential displacement for flood water, fails to register any concern to the planning decision makers!

The FloodRe insurance scheme is limited, limited so that it specifically discourages development in Flood Risk areas.

The list of properties excluded from the remit of Flood Re has been subject to significant debate however it has been agreed that the following properties will not be covered:

  • All commercial property
  • All residential property constructed since 1 January 2009
  • All purpose-built apartment blocks

Who will weigh this against Financial Sustainability? It appears nobody at Castle Point council!

It is time for the reservations contained within the NPPF Footnote 9 to be considered appropriately and evenly across the whole of Castle Point!

” ” All quotations lifted from the NPPF, Planning Guidance, Glebelands Inquiry and the Jotmans Farm Inquiry.

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4 responses to “Fair Play for Canvey Island in the light of the Jotmans Decision or are we still a “Special Case”?

  1. Cllr Bill Sharp

    The most logical thing is to put in place and show a five year supply . And then work with other adjacent local authorities to achieve infrastructure improvements which will facilitate further building as is needed .

    • Logical indeed Bill.
      Furthermore, should the “rumours” that Thorney Bay will look to develop into a Park Homes site, rather than “bricks and mortar” dwellings come into fruition, the yield of dwellings, due to the smaller plot sizes, could increase to 880 rather than the projected 600 allowed for in cpbc’s Housing Supply.
      If the supply can be based on 200 dwellings per annum, could not cpbc’s current 0.4 years supply quite easily be argued to now stand at nearer 4.40 years supply?
      Park Homes would suffer little planning delay, highway and drainage network could be at a lower standard and units supplied, accomodation ready.
      An Examining Inspector may however be concerned at the distribution of Housing Growth though.

  2. “What could possibly go wrong’’.

    Expanded measures and terminology now introduced Protecting Green Belt by encouraging the use of Brown Field Land are quite specific.

    (New Measures to Unlock Brown Field Land)

    “Councils will have new tools to speed up development of derelict and underused land for new homes, Housing and Planning Minister Gavin Barwell confirmed today (3 April 2017).
    Local authorities across the country will now have to produce and maintain up-to-date, publicly available registers of brownfield sites available for housing locally.
    The new registers will help housebuilders identify suitable brownfield sites quickly, promising to unlock land for thousands of new homes.

    Communities will be able to highlight local derelict or underused building sites that are primed for redevelopment. This can bring investment to the area and increase the number of new homes in the area “.

    These new registers will give local authorities and developers the tools to unlock Brown Field sites and Land with additional government funding being made available to support house building specifically aimed at starter homes.
    Here lies the problem when you have a local authority who are in a quandary as to what in its area constitutes Virgin Green belt or Greenfield land, we now have derelict and underused land to contend with.

    Who is now undertaking the site selection process and what criteria will be employed, there has been criticisms with CPBCs previous methodologies on this issue?

    The requirement to maintain an up-to-date publicly available brownfield site register suggest that the register could be compiled without public consultation.
    Two new term for planning officers to consider “derelict and underused land’’ puts a wider use of interpretation in their good ideas locker.

    Examples could be:-
    Farm land no longer farmed could be classed as being underused.
    Green Belt Land that has suffered from fly tipping or misuse could be classified as derelict.

  3. Editor
    Further information has been provided as to :-
    How will brownfield registers be prepared?
    “The regulations set a process for identifying suitable sites, including the requirements for keeping a register and the criteria for assessing sites. (The regulations also set out the requirements for publicity and consultation where an authority proposes to enter sites on Part 2 of the register.) There is a duty on local planning authorities to have regard to the development plan, national policy and advice and guidance when exercising their functions under the brownfield register regulations”.

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