Castle Point Local Plan Intervention – No Exclusion Zone! Are we being Misled ahead of May elections, or are we in Safe Hands?

The fear of Government Intervention over Castle Point Council, hangs over the Borough like some big Bogey Man in a Nightmare!

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I have seen it quoted on social media that “No Housing” is not an option for our Area.

The Secretary of State, having read cpbc’s explanation as to why they were amongst the 15 local authorities causing him most concern over their Local Plan replied, “In terms of the intervention criteria, Castle Point appears to have failed to make progress on plan-making, the policies do not appear to be up to date and there is high housing pressure. Given that your Council has said it will not produce a Local Plan until after the Joint Plan has been produced and that the Joint Plan is not due to be submitted until 2020 it appears possible that Plan production could be accelerated through intervention.”

And yet the cpbc leader Cllr riley suggests under the Echo introduction – NOT a single house in Castle Point should be built until plans for infrastructure has been in put in place, a council leader has claimed – despite the threat of government intervention looming over his head.

“We have never had the infrastructure contributions we should have had in Castle Point, and we are now in this position.” “They go hand in hand and we have been prioritising the infrastructure, and I think most of our residents would appreciate that.”

The previous attempts at a Local Plan, first saw Canvey Island basically stitched up to provide the Dutch Village Green Belt release for the Borough’s Housing Supply, then the Challis, Stanley, Smith 2014 Plan to again promote the Dutch Village release but this time to also include contentious mainland green belt sites.

There followed a massive reaction from Green Belt campaign groups on the mainland that came to a head at the local elections which saw a rise in ukip voting with the unseating of the then cpbc leader Cllr Challis.

Since then a 2016 Plan has been found to fail the Duty to Cooperate. Criticism has also been aimed at the lack of proposed Housing Numbers contained in the Plan. With some members of the Lead Group apparently suggesting that the officers failed to note the wish amongst some council members that the Blinking Owl should be released from the green belt so as to contribute to the Housing Supply.

This is an isolated site that is in need of infrastructure which may be what Cllr Riley had in mind.

The timing of the press response alongside the lack of information from cpbc as to the procedures of the Local Plan and the Intervention, may be an invite to speculate that Intervention is more likely than not.

What you make of the competency of the Local Plan makers is for you to decide.

Local Plan making is expected to:

“Local Plans should be aspirational but realistic. They should address the spatial implications of economic, social and environmental change.”

“Local Plans should set out the opportunities for development and clear policies on what will or will not be permitted and where. Only policies that provide a clear indication of how a decision maker should react to a development proposal should be included in the plan.”

“Local planning authorities should set out the strategic priorities for the area in the Local Plan. This should include strategic policies to deliver: ● the homes and jobs needed in the area;”

“the provision of retail, leisure and other commercial development; ● the provision of infrastructure for transport, telecommunications, waste management, water supply, wastewater, flood risk and coastal change management, ”

“Local planning authorities with Green Belts in their area should establish Green Belt boundaries in their Local Plans which set the framework for Green Belt and settlement policy. ”

” When drawing up or reviewing Green Belt boundaries local planning authorities should take account of the need to promote sustainable patterns of development.”

Given the concerns of some Castle Point Residents and Green Belt campaigners fearing that Intervention would remove local interests, concerns and input from the Planning process, it is good to hear this official message regarding the current situation:

From the Horses Mouth:

“Castle Point has failed to convince the Secretary of State that they are doing enough to get a Local Plan in place.

A final decision is still to be made and will be made once the Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain has provided the Secretary of State with further advice on the current status of Local Plan production and what can be done to speed it up.

If intervention were to occur then a Local Plan that meets all of the necessary legal and procedural requirements would be produced which would include consulting with members of the local community.” 

Link to the Echo article is HERE.

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2 responses to “Castle Point Local Plan Intervention – No Exclusion Zone! Are we being Misled ahead of May elections, or are we in Safe Hands?

  1. Editor
    Clearly the Adopted 1998 Plan had specific policies dealing with infrastructure.
    (see the following )

    “7.5. In the County Council’s Transport Policies and Programme submission for 1995/96 (TPP21) the following major schemes which would be likely to have an effect on traffic flows in the Borough were proposed as part of the South East Essex Package:

    ‰ A130 Canvey Way dualling – Upgrading of Canvey Way to dual carriageway standard between Sadler’s Farm and Waterside Farm roundabouts and the creation of a grade separated junction at Sadlers Farm Roundabout.

    ‰ A130 Bypass (A132 to A127) – This would form stage 2 of a high quality strategic primary route linking Chelmsford and the A12 to South East Essex and the A127. A junction with the A130 to the south of the A127 is proposed.

    7.6. The A130 Bypass was proposed in TPP21 for a 1997/8 start, and the dualling of Canvey Way for 1999/2000.

    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.”

    Given the amount of development on Canvey Island since 1998 it’s a bitter pill to swallow from Cllr Riley, when implied that there should be no more housing in the Borough before the delivery of infrastructure.
    Such a statement could have only have been made to indicate that CPBC have no intention to provide for its housing needs for the foreseeable future.
    Intervention now being inevitable.

  2. Editor
    All is not looking good. CPBC may be made an example.

    The following being part of a resent article spelling danger for CPBC, could it be that Government Planners will be delivering the SOS decision before the Local Elections.

    “Sajid Javid, housing secretary, admits that a generation has been “locked out of the housing market” and has set a target of 300,000 new homes a year. He said in March that planning reforms would include “more flexibility” to develop brownfield land in the greenbelt. He has also warned councils that if they miss new housing targets they will be stripped of their planning powers.
    Nick Boles, a former Conservative planning minister, says British governments have not built enough homes in the past 20 years. “We have failed through a combination of cowardice, complacency, laziness and incomprehension,” he says

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