The main purpose of the campaign is to stop the last area of natural Green Belt Canvey Island land, inside the perimeter Roadway, being swallowed up by Development. Castle Point Council claim they were under pressure from the Government’s East of England Authority to build on the Green Belt on Canvey Island. This is absolute rubbish. This is the easy option. The land behind the Dutch Village is owned by Developers whereas the ample Brownfield sites are not. Brownfield sites are more difficult to have released, although the purpose of the Green Belt is to encourage the regeneration of Brown Field land. The current financial climate may well encourage the release of Brown Field sites by landowners . Even the banks are on their knees. Times have changed, re- negotiate. Stop putting Money ahead of Canvey people’s quality of life and well-being.
However having become involved in the Core Strategy process that includes the Dutch Village Fields proposed development we became aware of the other issues facing Canvey Island. We therefore committed to widen our scope and involvement. Other issues include the Flood Risk, Hazardous Industries and the lack of protected easy access / egress via Waterside Farm Roundabout.
Core Strategy Brochure.
The wonderful colour brochure, supposedly sent to every home in the Borough. Well my team, and I, canvassed the 120 homes on the Dutch Village Estate and there were many complaints from people who didn’t receive theirs. OK there will be some that binned them without realising what was inside, but not all. Without the diagram of the plan to show how the Dutch Village Estate Green Belt land is going to be concreted over, we were told of “the land to the east of Canvey Road”.
NO, “THE DUTCH VILLAGE ESTATE, GREEN BELT FIELDS” !!!
The Core Strategy, local development framework warned of the hazards simply living on Canvey Island presents residents with. This has been encompassed into our argument. To add more numbers to the population is wrong.
In September 2011, after having £500,000 spent on the process, the Core Strategy was withdrawn. Not due to the fact that the Planning Inspector had recommended such action as he had found it “unsound” but because the Mainland residents had learned that Green Belt on the Mainland was required for development to make the Core Strategy “sound”! Mainland ward Councillors feared for their Council Seats and of losing control of the Authority and decided to vote to withdraw the CS Document. Previously they had voted to not protect Canvey Green Belt as Mainland Green Belt was the alternative option.
And so we head toward the new process of forming a New Local Plan. The same political pressures will be brought to bear. There is a need to lower housing targets, even though we have heard Council Officers confirm in public at the CS Examination the EEA figures were relevant and alteration was not required. Canvey Green Belt will still be released ahead of Mainland, even though we are more densely developed. New evidence will be found at greater expense.
In the meantime the 1998 Local Plan has been re-instated and the Council announced a promise to protect all Green Belt in the Borough.
Developers will challenge the defence of “prematurity” against their Housing Applications in the interim. The New Local Plan will not be adopted until early 2014 at the earliest. Given their efforts during the Core Strategy, over-coming problems and reaching a “sound” document will prove a challenge.
This is all about finding out what we as Canvey people are made of. We can lay down and roll over or we can make the Island aware. The councillors may not listen, but the Local Plan will be decided by a neutral, the Planning Inspectorate.