And so the time has finally arrived when the good people of Canvey Island and the Castle Point mainland get to see an inkling of what cpbc have-planned for us, in the way of development in the Borough!
Contained in the special council meeting agenda and looking like a speed writing composition time trial, is the Local Plan timetable required to satisfy the Government’s secretary of state, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire.
On first viewing the cpbc 2018 Local Plan could be renamed the Marchant Plan, after the cpbc chief executive (ceo), given the upset this is going to cause local Residents throughout the Borough!
Council members have been issued with an Agenda, which appears based entirely on the cpbc ceo’s interpretation of Government requirement, followed by a list of consequential threats if actions are not followed. Once again council ward members are getting this information 3rd hand.
Over the course of the next 12 months we will learn what the new leadership of the Castle Point borough council are made of. Whether Infrastructure is delivered in good time as per recent promises, or whether Housing land is released on the recommendation of the “professional officers” and requirement of Government.
The cpbc leadership itself will be judged by actions alone!
The new leader, representing 88,000 residents, was elected by just 1,241 voters.
His deputy we blogged of in April 2013 thus; During the debate during Council’s announcement of the 5 year Housing Supply, Cabinet Member cllr Stanley referred to the Borough’s silent majority of residents that may well be in favour of large scale housing development in the Borough.
If cllr Stanley is correct, the Council will need to communicate with, and motivate those residents, for it appears by the reaction against these proposals the new draft Local Plan 2014 will be unpopular.
The issue, especially for Mainland residents is whether they believe the Council have come up with a sound 5 year housing supply and whether they can come to terms and accept the sites selected.
During the recent 2018 call for sites, it is possible to see on social media that there were some mainland residents willing to travel onto Canvey Island seeking, what they considered to be developable sites to add to the cpbc register.
One commented “I drove virtually the whole of Castle Point (yes including Canvey) and listed plots that could be used for development where they had fallen in to rack and ruin” – “There was a lot!!!! More on mainland than Canvey by the way. The issue though is ownership and getting it sorted for development. Some would need compulsory purchase. They are ‘green’ spots but not Greenbelt.”
Very noble of him, but I would add he did so with absolutely no concern towards the other Constraints that should be applied when considering increasing the Housing Development, and Population of Canvey Island.
These people have some influence within the “Ruling” political party at cpbc!
Green Belt Campaign groups and Residents objecting to development, is recorded within the 2018 Local Plan paperwork as being a Threat!
Creating a High Risk to the Local Plan.
A Threat described as: “The Local Plan will tackle contentious issues that could give rise to significant public opposition. Whilst every effort will be made to build cross community consensus, there remains risk of significant public opposition to the Local Plan proposals.
Logistically this could cause a higher volume of work in the processing and analysis of representations than accounted for in the LDS timetable, which could set it back. To help reduce this risk, responses from the 2014 and 2016 draft Local Plan consultations will be used to assess public opinion. The 2014 and 2016 draft Local Plans will form the majority of the new Local Plan so previous consultation responses as well as updated evidence will help inform the Plan.”
The first admission that the intention is to allow NO NEW Consultation Submissions! If you did not make a submission you will have No Say!
And that the intention is to revert back to the old daft 2014 Local Plan, the one that caused so much political disruption and saw 5 UKIP members elected onto the council to represent mainland wards, and also the downfall of cpbc leader P.Challis!
The Agenda paperwork includes these concerning passages:
“Assessment of all sites will be carried out in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as revised, and the National Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) – “assessing the suitability, availability and achievability of sites including whether the site is economically viable.”
The new Local Plan will have a timeframe of at least 15 years: however the housing delivery policies and site allocations will have a shorter timeframe of between 5 to 10 years. This shorter timeframe for the housing policy elements will ensure an upturn in housing delivery in the short term.
In 2017, the Government consulted on a standardised methodology for calculating housing needs, and this identified a need for 342 dwellings per annum in Castle Point.
Therefore the objectively assessed housing need (OAN) for Castle Point will be 342 dwellings per annum and previous evidence suggests that only approximately 100 dwellings per annum can be identified on brownfield sites. Whilst the plan must recognise nationally important physical and policy constraints, it is clear both from the evidence and from advice from the Chief Planner and consultants acting for the Secretary of State that some land in the Green Belt will need to be considered for housing.
Since all South Essex authorities are constrained by Green Belt, concerns are likely to be expressed again by those authorities if the Council has not taken difficult decisions on some Green Belt release.
The most important issue to bear in mind is that the Secretary of State needs confidence that the Council will prepare a local plan. If he detects that there is an unwillingness to commit to an accelerated timetable to have a plan prepared quickly, or to commit to difficult decisions regarding the allocation of sites for housing (including those in the Green Belt), then he will direct that others (either a County Council, or consultants) prepare a plan for him, at cost to the Council. If that were to occur the Council will then play no further part in planmaking.
Notwithstanding this work, and acknowledging that the plan must recognise nationally important physical and policy constraints, it is nonetheless clear that some land in the Green Belt will need to be considered for housing. Informal indications from emerging evidence and technical assessments, as well as discussions with Ministry officials and consultants, suggest that the figure in the new Local Plan will need to be significantly closer to the OAN as a reasonable and appropriate target.
For this reason, sites indicated for development in the draft New Local Plan 2014 will need to be considered again. For the avoidance of doubt these will include all those sites identified in the draft New Local Plan 2014 for development.
It is highly likely that almost all suitable, available and achievable sites will be required for the plan, including those in the Green Belt, to achieve a target which is likely lower than the OAN but which would be acceptable at Examination.”
The first contentious point will be to learn which councillors will be allowed to participate in the Local Plan meetings, for amongst the council members maybe land owners, property agents and those with registered interests that may be considered to influence decision making.
Next week’s meeting will be the first in which we will see whether constraints such as Infrastructure, Green Belt, Hazardous Industries, and Flood Risk are priorities or just sound bites to be shelved in succumbing to the ceo’s interpreted Government’s cpbc Local Plan!
Let’s have no councillor Crocodile tears, this Plan has been 11+ years in the making!