How NOT to Build Cross Community Consensus, the Castle Point Way! A Joint meeting with Canvey and Mainland Residents apparently “Not Effective”!

Embracing the spirit of localism, a small contingency of Canvey Island and Benfleet community representatives, collectively requested an opportunity to discuss their Development concerns, with Castle Point Council leader, Cllr Smith.


Residents having recognised that the loss of Castle Point Green Belt sites, that are in close proximity, will have a cumulative impact on the local environment.

Unfortunately, seemingly wishing to avoid a combined group meeting, made up of the Dutch Village and Jotmans Farm Green Belt sites campaigners, the leader of CPBC, succeeds in promoting the perception, that communities from Canvey Island and Benfleet are being kept separate for an ulterior motive!

Local communities in this part of the Borough are clearly best placed to recognise that local and main roads are struggling to cope with the demands of today’s traffic, let alone the additional traffic brought about by the proposed large scale indiscriminate development.

The same communities are also best placed to understand how their health and wellbeing issues are directly linked to road traffic pollution and how their day to day functional requirements are already overstretched.
It was not unreasonable of us, to seek an open forum with cllr Smith, so as not to allow local campaigners to meet the leader in more “private” circumstances.

It may appear advantageous for residents with localised green belt site interests, seemingly at risk of development through the new Local Plan, to engage with cllr Smith via individual one to one meetings, however this may encourage the return to the problematic Local Factoring, that has blighted and festered mistrust, through previous versions of the CPBC Local Plan!

Having rejected the opportunity of bringing the community of Castle Point together, Cllr Smith has disingenuously failed to meet his communities public consultation expectations.

CPBC recognises that one of the key risks to the successful production of its Local Plan and its Policies is the possibility it would attract significant public opposition. This particular threat level has been scaled as “HIGH”, and mitigation measures were needed, in the face of Residents opposition to the Local Plan, to prevent slippage in the programmed time scale, raising the perceived Fear of Government Intervention.

CPBCs documented that:-
“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”

Cllr Smiths determination to meet with individual Green Belt groups in isolation contradicts this commitment.

4 responses to “How NOT to Build Cross Community Consensus, the Castle Point Way! A Joint meeting with Canvey and Mainland Residents apparently “Not Effective”!

  1. Editor.
    The involvement of local communities in planning for their areas is an essential component of successful plan-making. To make engagement worthwhile the approach has to be honest, transparent, proportionate and fair to all parts of the borough. For there not to be support for a unified approach, having implied that it could be possible, is seemingly underpinning divisiveness.

    The reality is that over the past two decades local issues have become debilitating, with unrealistic aspirations being peddled so as to bring about a buy-in from selective sections of the community. Understandably communities that have taken an active role in plan making process, having seemingly secured the aspects of a local plan that retained their existing environment, now find that the local planning decisions have been so badly handled that intervention is now the better option.

    Inspectors will have advised CPBC to go back and re-look at both the evidence and the conclusion on need. CPBC has for whatever reason never identified from where the significant part of its housing need emanate from.

    Never the less having identified that need without satisfying it, the Council will have to demonstrate how the harm caused by not meeting the need is outweighed by the harm caused by meeting it.

    CPBC having taken the stance that housing development is required on a zone 3 flood plan to support its community effectively reduced the weight that should have been given to that risk. Refusing to acknowledge its responsibility for Societal Risk presented by Major Hazardous COMAH sites, in its Land Use Planning process has effectively dismissed a vital reason for constraint.

    Exposing a community to greater risk ramifications by increasing the numbers at risk is never a viable option for protecting the boroughs green belt.

    Green belt as a constraint should be, if handled correctly, strong enough as a constraint, development has to stop somewhere. Essentially, if allowed be continued, the imposed housing needs emanating from other boroughs cannot and will not ever be met.

  2. Unfortunately Mr Smith merely wants to tick boxes and say that he has met with local groups whereas he has no intention of listening to what have to say. This is probably the reason no-one wants to meet with him and nothing whatsoever for do with Canvey and Benfleet being insular. An arrogant individual.

  3. the trouble with the arrogrant cpbc is they take no notice of the people’s views ,I wish there was a way to get the populas together so we could protest in numbers ! any ideas.?

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