To Intervene or to Not Intervene, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, as Simple Minded and Disobedient Canvey Folk suffer, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.

Much will be read and disclosed over the next year or so, when it will be wondered whether the June 2018 decision by Castle Point council, to rush into a Local Plan schedule, with the prospect of a New Local Plan approved by Council for publication by November followed by submission to the Inspectorate in April 2019, or alternatively to face the prospect of Government Intervention, is the best path to tread, especially where Canvey Island is concerned.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

And so it was, when the cpbc chief executive, the council leader and his deputy, stated the case for cpbc seeking to retain control of its Local Plan making, rather than allow Intervention from the Government Planner.

The councillors and residents were not permitted an address from the Government chief planner, choices and their consequences were expressed only third hand delivered by the cpbc triumvirate.

But whilst keeping control of the Local Plan process is in the very best interests of parts of the mainland, is it also in the best interests of Canvey Island, a reasonable question to ask?

Harking back to the Core Strategy we exposed a Plot by the “Ruling” mainland party to sacrifice Canvey’s Dutch Village Green Belt site, as the sole Green Belt site released for development, so as to appease their mainland concerns and allow publication of a cpbc Core Strategy, local plan!

We remember well, the mainland residents Green Belt campaign group, during the council Task and Finish group meeting, standing to address council members confirming that they agreed and supported the Plan “in its entirety!”

Where was the “united” Borough then?

When the Core Strategy was rejected by the Examining Inspector due to the unreasonable Housing Growth Distribution and the Dutch Village site being, a Green Belt site within a Flood Risk Zone, the cpbc ceo made sure that the Dutch Village remained within the list of Green Belt sites for development, whilst adding some mainland sites to meet the Housing Need of the Borough, within the 2014 daft Local Plan!

Of course the retention of the Canvey Dutch Village site, despite the Inspector’s opinion, meant that one large mainland site would be saved from development.

Now by returning to the 2014 draft local Plan as a starting place for the 2018 Local Plan, concerns return as to whether it is intelligent and responsible for Canvey residents to put their faith, as we are being told and advised so to do, within the “Ruling” party’s successful motion to Control the 2018 local Plan.

“sometimes orders given to the simple-minded have to be reinforced with a threat, a suggestion that something terrible will happen to the disobedient,”

The threat has been delivered and something terrible may still apparently happen!

We are reminded that the Dutch Village site is owned by Persimmon, implying that this would speed the process through Planning resulting in an early supply of Housing, For The Borough!

Meanwhile, the more lucrative development sites elsewhere in the Borough would, following this logic, remain undeveloped for longer, especially when the ongoing development of approximately 900 Sandy Bay Park Homes, also on Canvey Island, are put into the equation!

This may encourage some conspiracy theory, has the call for sites from cpbc entailed dealings between officers members and developers as to which site or sites would be released in which order, specifically if the developer were to agree to initially focus on Dutch Village first?

As it stands in practise cpbc focus on applying constraints on development in the so called “virgin” Green Belt areas of the Borough. Canvey Island Flood Risk is also applied to the constraints so as to limit numbers, but that constraint is applied to housing Need numbers across the whole Borough, rather than Canvey Island in particular!

Making cpbc’s approach to the application of the Sequential Test simply contrived and, a Farce!

But can Canvey residents be certain that the Government Planner would apply to Canvey Island, the supposed Constraints on Housing Development such as Flood Risk, the threat to what remains of its Green Belt and the Hazardous Industrial sites any less fairly than the cpbc “Ruling” party and officers?

Especially going by their proven Local Planning track record!

Under Cllr Riley’s regime Canvey fared better than during any of the previous attempts at Plan making.

Now Cllr Riley has been side lined by the Triumvirate now in control, and previously chiefly responsible for the 2014 daft Local Plan, despite two of them apparently also claiming to support the 2016 Plan’s attempt to constrain the borough’s Housing Numbers!

To mainlanders these thoughts may sound pessimistic and overly cautious, however being fed rumours and not having the access to decision makers that some residents appear to have, however furtive, leads to a lack of an Open and Transparent Local Plan process.

Faith in Leaders must be Earned, Blind Faith is a dangerous option.




One response to “To Intervene or to Not Intervene, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer, as Simple Minded and Disobedient Canvey Folk suffer, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.

  1. Steve Sawkins

    Thanks once again for the opportunity to express local concerns

    At the Special Council meeting on the 6th of June Castle Point Council Members, having been recommended to do so, agreed that :-

    3.7 That Council approves the Statement of Common Ground prepared by the Association of South Essex Local Authorities, attached as Appendix C to this report, to guide the preparation of a Joint Strategic Plan for South Essex.

    What does this commitment actually entail ?

    I am not so sure that all council members actually read their briefing agenda, all decision having presumably been pre-empted, given the process entered into on the night, there was seemingly no need. I am led to this view by the following:-

    “The South Essex Leaders and Chief Executives are committed to continuing with the Vision in 2018 and formalising the collaboration by creating an Association as agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding.
    The East of England Local Government Association has also confirmed its commitment to Phase Two of this work.
    Three key tasks have been identified:
    Design a place proposition to promote South Essex;
    A joined up and strategic approach to growth and spatial planning;
    Co-ordination of an infrastructure strategy.

    South Essex has an ambition to improve opportunities for housing delivery, investment and growth beyond current housing needs. The scale of ambition is demonstrated by proposals for the sub-region to be realised and to deliver 100,700 homes and 58,000 jobs. However in order to deliver the housing and growth the authorities recognise the continuing need for a partnership approach not just within the area but also with Government to create the right conditions for this to happen and to further formalise plans for joint strategic planning and infrastructure delivery.

    In taking forward the strategic approach the authorities have agreed to prepare a Joint Spatial Strategy over a 3 year timescale and incorporating the following high level thematic areas: – Vision and Spatial Strategy, Housing, Economy, Environment, Transport, Infrastructure (including a Strategic Infrastructure Delivery Plan – SIDP)”

    This is the Thames Gateway project in another form Empire Building at the expense of the indigenous communities.
    Who are the drivers of this vision and what’s in it for them?

    When voting in block, what were CPBC Councillors thinking of by endorsing to this part of the recommendations. The expectations are that CPBC will be contributing towards these ambitions, this being in addition to making provisions towards its own New Local Plan needs.

    Again voting in block, the CIIP Abstained from their decision making responsibility but it must be said that they also allowed for the whole process to go through unopposed, effectively leaving Canvey Island unrepresented.

    This Special Meeting called by the Councils Leader, having been played out in the chamber of CPBC, was devoid of democracy, lacking debate or opinion to give the indication of devolved unity which will not mislead the Secretary of State that all is well.
    Community unrest will show otherwise.

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