Neighbourhood Plans, cheap Political Shots and Canvey Island!

It is not for Us, the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group to defend the Actions or Inactions of Canvey Island Town Council but, on the subject of Neighbourhood Plans, some perspective should be applied!

As you can see from the Map reproduced below, Castle Point as a whole, is Actionless where Neighbourhood Plan’s are concerned!

This despite the mainland area being split into several distinct neighbourhood areas such as Daws Heath and the like.

There is a very good reason for these area’s residents not seeking to do as they encourage Canvey Island Town Council to do, in undertaking a Neighbourhood Plan, that is Residents there are represented by the controlling group at cpbc, and a Borough-wide Local Plan has been attempted to be processed, over 10 very long years, with protection from mainland development in mind.

Screenshot (2)

Neighbourhood Plans position as at November 2017

Neighbourhood Plans are not there to Prevent Development.

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign were fully behind a local Neighbourhood Plan for the Canvey Island Area, because we believed that what could be prevented was Inappropriate Development!

So whilst others seek to take cheap shots at us on Canvey, it is appropriate to reproduce what the Castle Point Borough Council representative’s considered opinion on the subject was:

 In short, yes it would be possible to create a “Canvey Neighbourhood Plan”.

However, Government guidance makes clear that such plans cannot “de-designate” anything that is presently in an Adopted Local Plan.

So the development sites on Canvey at The Point, Thorney Bay, Roscommon Way and Northwick Road would all have to be carried forward into the Neighbourhood Plan.

The Government’s advice on Neighbourhood Plans is to be found at the Planning Practice Guidance web-pages

http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/neighbourhood-planning/

It contains some very interesting and helpful advice.

However, my colleagues in other parts of the County tell me that it is a very time consuming and expensive process, although there is grant available.

The particular points I have picked up in discussion are

·         The Plan is supposed to promote additional sustainable development in addition to that already in any adopted plan

·         The Plan must have regard to any evidence of objectively assessed needs, particularly up-to date evidence of housing needs

I’ve also picked some interesting points from the Guidance, which I have copied below…

Decision makers may find themselves considering applications in an area with a neighbourhood plan that has passed referendum and been “made”, and thus forms part of the development plan, but where the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.

In such instances paragraph 49 of the Framework is clear that “relevant policies for the supply of housing should not be considered up-to-date if the local planning authority cannot demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites.” Paragraph 49 applies to policies in the statutory development plan documents which have been adopted or approved in relation to a local planning authority area. It also applies to policies in made neighbourhood plans.

 A neighbourhood plan can allocate additional sites to those in a Local Plan where this is supported by evidence to demonstrate need above that identified in the Local Plan. A neighbourhood plan can propose allocating alternative sites to those in a Local Plan, but a qualifying body should discuss with the local planning authority why it considers the Local Plan allocations no longer appropriate.

 The resulting draft neighbourhood plan must meet the basic conditions if it is to proceed. National planning policy states that it should support the strategic development needs set out in the Local Plan, plan positively to support local development and should not promote less development than set out in the Local Plan or undermine its strategic policies (see paragraph 16 and paragraph 184 of the National Planning Policy Framework). Nor should it be used to constrain the delivery of a strategic site allocated for development in the Local Plan.

The Question for those who criticise is, if a Neighbourhood plan is such a useful device, why then are more not being undertaken?

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign group remain in favour of the process.

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4 responses to “Neighbourhood Plans, cheap Political Shots and Canvey Island!

  1. Editor
    Readers may find some explanation within this Local Government document..
    “A plain English guide to the Localism Act”
    It starts with :-
    “The time has come to disperse power more widely in Britain today.”
    The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister, Coalition Agreement, May 2010
    “For too long, central government has hoarded and concentrated power. Trying to improve people’s lives by imposing decisions, setting targets and demanding inspections from Whitehall simply doesn’t work. It creates bureaucracy. It leaves no room for adaptation to reflect local circumstances or innovation to deliver services more effectively and at lower cost. And it leaves people feeling ‘done to’ and imposed upon – the very opposite of the sense of participation and involvement on which a healthy democracy thrives”
    Bring this sentiment up to date and down to Borough level and many would feel that there has been no change at local level to the imposition of the decision making process.
    Having said that, communities need to take the opportunity to participate in the process in order to make Localism work.

  2. Reading between the lines that you have given, in my view it might be a useful exercise to provide a plan, but in reality it would not change any of the major proposals that are already in the system, so what’s to be gained?

  3. Editor
    Interestingly the Adopted 1998 Plan did have some real advantages however development proposals have come forward without the proposed infrastructure and are not in the system as identified by James,

    Policy T1 give such an example.

    7.7. Despite the proposed improvements, the Council remains concerned in respect of highway infrastructure in Castle Point, and will continue to press the Highway Authority for improvements to the strategic highway network in the Borough, and in particular for the early dualling of Canvey Way.

    POLICY T1 – STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK THE COUNCIL WILL URGE THE HIGHWAY AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE IMPROVEMENTS TO THE STRATEGIC HIGHWAY NETWORK IN AND AROUND THE BOROUGH, INCLUDING THE DUALLING OF CANVEY WAY.

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