Castle Point Leader drops Gov. Minister Green Belt Bombshell! Whilst Canvey is Carved Up and expected to put trust in behind closed doors meetings!

It would appear insensitive, lacking openness and transparency and disrespectful for Canvey Island Town Council, as representative of the largest Town in Castle Point, to have not been invited nor allowed representation, in even an observational capacity, at the “collaborative” local area Planning meetings being undertaken by cpbc,  Basildon, Brentwood, Rochford, Southend–on-Sea, Thurrock and Essex County Councils.

These meetings fall under the umbrella of work “to create a vision and sense of place for South Essex through the Association of South Essex Local Authorities”.

More fundamentally it is the South Essex Local Authorities attempt to fulfill their failed efforts to Cooperate within their Local Plan processes.

During last weeks cpbc Special Council meeting, we heard from the ceo that both the Local Plan work and the work of the Association of South Essex Local Authorities, or ASELA for short,  are Intrinsically linked.


Canvey Island on the Menu


If you find yourself at the Dinner Table, without having received an Invitation,

It is very likely that you will be forming part of the Menu!

With Canvey Island currently supplying the largest sites of both Housing and Business Development in Castle Point, it is requiring almost foolhardy trust, given the previous track records, for Canvey residents to simply accept their interests are being represented to the best of cpbc Leader and officers ability!

The Leader said during the Special Council meeting that up until ASELA commenced working, cpbc was considered as “small fish” amongst south Essex councils. Off the bottom of the list, and having to fight tooth and nail to keep, schemes such as, Fairglen Interchange in the frame.

In effect Islanders are having to put our trust in Cllr Riley’s word, in reporting back to his confidents at cpbc.

Remember that no updates of work achieved or fulfilled have been made public, nor updates on how any agreements will impact upon the intrinsically linked Local Plan, with its Housing Need and Distribution of Housing Growth causing concern to many.

With Cllr Riley’s calling for trust in council members and residents alike, it was most surprising then to hear him state during the council meeting, that he himself held no trust in the Government’s Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, of whom he claimed, he didn’t “believe the minister cares whether we build on our green belt or not”!

In fairness to Cllr Riley his concerns may have some “legs”, as despite the SoS dismissing the Jotmans Farm, Benfleet development Appeal, he did so only on the day of the commencement of the Period of Purdah ahead of the General Election 2017! *

Residents may remember that the Jotmans Appeal was conducted during September 2015, so the decision was with the SoS for likely over 18 months awaiting his decision. No doubt he would have had in mind the progress being made with the cpbc Local Plan before making his decision, however since then he has reacted by placing cpbc on his list of 15 most local authorities likely to face Government Intervention! More recently, Sajid Javid’s ministry has been renamed to that of “Housing, Communities and Local Government”!

In the meantime, we wonder what Wheeling and Dealing goes on at these ASELA gatherings, Canvey Island residents with no representatives present, if we were informed, would learn 3rd hand at best!

* LINK to Jotmans Appeal decision


One response to “Castle Point Leader drops Gov. Minister Green Belt Bombshell! Whilst Canvey is Carved Up and expected to put trust in behind closed doors meetings!

  1. Editor
    In principle the cooperation between the five local planning authorities in South Essex (Basildon, Castle Point, Rochford, Southend, Thurrock), with Essex County Council with respect to strategic planning issues, is a step forward for this part of Essex. However what is apparent is the huge disparity within CPBC between Canvey Island and the mainland representation.

    It is obvious that the CIIP via the Canvey Island Town Council are not comfortable with the fact that Canvey Island by way of non-representation would play no part in this process.

    CPBC have committed to The “Memorandum of Understanding” agreement which makes it clear that:-
    “In keeping with the principles of localism, this MoU respects the sovereignty of the individual local development plan-making functions of the South Essex local authorities. Therefore, it does not seek to determine the locations for development within local authority administrative areas. Furthermore, it does not seek to include prescriptive or directive policies which would limit the ability of the individual local authorities to meet their development needs in a locally appropriate manner”.

    To then exclude 45% of the population of Castle Point from the process does not reflect the principles of localism.

    This has a particular consequence when the work undertaken via the South Essex Strategic Planning Process is being presented as a significant reason as to why the Secretary Of State should not intervene in CPBC Local Development Scheme, presumable for the following reasons-

    One of the specific points mentioned by the Secretary of State in his speech in deciding whether or not to intervene was the extent to which local planning authorities are working together on strategic planning matters.

    It is considered that Castle Point has a good case to make to avoid intervention based on the work already undertaken between these South Essex authorities on strategic planning matters.

    It will be argued that there has been a long history of South Essex authorities working together on planning issues such as the Strategic Housing Market Assessment and Strategic Flood Risk Assessment.

    CPBC have recently agreed to act as a pilot for a “Statement of Common Ground” on strategic planning matters within the Department for Communities and Local Government.( as previously informed recently renamed the Ministry of HOUSING Communities and Local Government’s) with emphasis on housing.

    CPBC will therefore argue that participation in these initiatives should be considered as a compelling reason as to why government intervention in its Local Development Scheme would not be appropriate, even though local planning remains a matter for local authorities.

    Unfortunately it will not go unnoticed by the Secretary Of State that CPBC’s planning history has been previously recognised by a planning Judge as being lamentable, still reliant on the outdated Adopted 1998 plan.

    It will not go unnoticed that a Planning Inspector, when appraising the Core Strategy, commented on the eagerness of CPBC to develop flood plain.

    More alarmingly the current 2017 Local Scheme now being prepared will not come forward until the latter part of 2019 when there remains a strong possibility that it would, as is the tendency, fail to reach completion.

    The very fact that resources dedicated towards the new Regional Planning Partnership will have detrimental consequence on the Local Planning Scheme workload, would have to be a consideration as to why intervention would be appropriate.

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