Echo – Echoes: Residents almost Total Disengagement with Castle Point Borough Council! Local Plan Consultation a Major Turn Off!

In light of the Echo newspaper article today, we have reposted below our original post so that comments may be taken in context.
Interesting that the cpbc leader cllr Smith acknowledged in the Echo article that cpbc have difficulty engaging with residents.
This was highlighted during the 2014 flooding of Canvey Island and during their appeals for participation in consultation events.
Their use of social media and the limited engagement with residents is concerning, even more so in the case during an Emergency event.

“The CPBC Local Plan Consultation formally closed to submissions on the 15th August.
Alarmingly indications are that less than 0.7% of Castle Point residents took part in the process that will shape the future of the Borough!
“The Council invited comments on the contents of a new Local Plan…. Responses are yet to be analysed but initial indications show that more than 1100 comments were received from over 630 individuals and organisations.”
We say that less than 0.7% of the 89,000+ Castle Point residents made their views known, as the total number of responses included those of neighbouring Councils and Developers!
There can be no doubt, that there is a disengagement with our local authority by residents!
That residents views are ignored, is a view challenged by councillors, but a view that, going by the number of responders, must be recognised!
This disengagement contrasts starkly from the Canvey Green Belt Campaign Referendum that managed to visit and ask residents their thoughts on Green Belt development on Canvey Island, and engaged with over 6,500 residents.
Also the Canvey Ladies who compiled a Petition against development on the Island and achieved over 10,000 signatures.
Not a week goes by without complaints on traffic congestion, and over stacked GP surgery lists. Flats and Houses being developed to more denser and higher designs. Industrial premises taking over important Green Spaces. Flooding becoming more frequent.
With latent feelings running high, why would residents NOT take part in the Local Plan consultation?
0.7% Response is a admittedly a paltry figure considering the number of campaign groups within the Borough.
However, what IS important is the content of the answers given and the documentation in support of what the Local Plan should and should not contain.
Despite this, going by previous experiences, Castle Point council will likely continue to do whatever it suits the current administration.
This is probably why so many attempts to achieve a Local Plan have been forced into withdrawal and fallen by the wayside, and the Government through the Chief Planner, are keeping a very close watch on cpbc’s Local Plan process.
This may be why such a small response was achieved through the Consultation.”

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4 responses to “Echo – Echoes: Residents almost Total Disengagement with Castle Point Borough Council! Local Plan Consultation a Major Turn Off!

  1. I.Rate of Benfleet writes;
    Well what can one say about the Consultation return – how about this:

    Over 32% of the CP population is over 65 – and over 7% between 75 -84.
    The double sided, undated CPBC consultation 2018 paper, on the reverse tells residents (the elderly, very elderly and one’s who cannot get around well) OR those who don’t have computers – “just pop up to the council offices we’ll help u fill in the questionnaire!”
    A JOKE OR WHAT?

    This paper, call it that loosely, was not put on any of the borough’s main noticeboards scattered around the main hubs, where the main shops are etc.
    We were “consulted” during the main holiday period, when kids were off school and many hundreds of people – away on their hols – last thing on their mind, cpbc local plan consultation!

    There was no site map to refer to and, after enquiring, had to be inserted twice on the cpbc website before anybody had a real chance of referring to it.
    As you may well know we are in the second most densely populated district of Essex.
    Just thought I’d put that in.

    Our elected councillors seem to have gone underground – no interactive play from them with their constituents regarding the new LP, sorry old LP with a new year added (2018).

    The flimsy consultation paper was addressed to “The Occupier” in a flimsy envelope – not addressed by name and delivered with the junk mail.
    Most people made planes with them and flew them into a bin.

    Mind you if the CPBC wanted some money from a person – the occupiers name would have been on the envelope and posted correctly.
    They have an electoral role, why was not the names appended to the envelope and the consultation paper itself?
    Politeness goes a long way!

    The new description Land West of Benfleet has been used to disguise JOTMANS and GLEBELANDS etc – anybody reading this – assumes this area is out of Benfleet totally – joke how do they get away with this?
    Some people had difficulty referring to the 2016 LP details where they could only find two pages.

    AND Finally, on 11 Aug ( for a few hours) three of our team, only four of us now, – obtained nearly 700 signatures on letters opposing many of the contents of the plan – these were hand delivered to the ….. council and signed for.
    If this had not been done and these numbers not incorporated in the return – the final total really would have been embarrassing.
    This exercise was done in a few hours in the shopping area in Benfleet High Road and nearly everybody said, they did not know nuffink about the latest plan.
    Imagine it they had petitioned for 10 Saturdays what the signature numbers would have been then!

  2. The Council never intended for this to be a consultation exercise for the residents. Most people thought understandingly it was junk mail and tore it up and put it in the bin. They have always had their own agenda which does not take in the views or concerns of the residents. They aught to be ashamed of themselves.

  3. Editor
    Please allow me to reintroduce this submission so that its point is not lost, I would gladly accept a reply that disputes the assumption made in its content.

    In March 2018, the Council received a letter from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government confirming the intention to commence Intervention in the Castle Point Local Plan. As of June 2018, the form of this Intervention had not been confirmed, but dialogue with the Ministry has confirmed the need for a Local Plan to be prepared to an accelerated timetable, and this Plan must focus on bringing forward new homes in the early part of the Plan period.
    One of the key risks to the successful production of the local plan timetable is for CPBC to engage with its community. The failed opportunity to undertake the process of Neighbourhood Plans has been a significant failing.
    The Local Plan will need to tackle contentious issues that could give rise to huge public opposition. Little or no effort has been made to build cross community consensus, there still remains a risk of significant public opposition to the Local Plan proposals when presented for examination.

    There has previously been documented responses from the 2014 and 2016 draft Local Plan consultations which assessed public opinion at that time. Unless a higher volume of work is undertaken to reanalyse those and now additional representations so as to justify consensus, the outcome should be roughly the same.
    Logistically a higher volume of work in the processing and the analysing of representations, should in normal circumstances, have a detrimental effect on the planned timetable. Consequently there is no benefit gained by CPBC undertaking meaningful consultation or any other form of engagement with its community

  4. Not much of an input from CPBC councillors regarding this blog and subsequent replies (in fact none ) – perhaps they have not read it but then again perhaps they have!!!!!

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