Category Archives: Local Plan

Probity and Incompetency a damaging Report into Castle Point Planning! A Very Dark Day for CPBC!

At first sight the Echo headline disclosure of the “failings” of Castle Point Council development committee appears not a bad thing! It is clear that developers are actively looking to develop on Canvey Island and the mainland Green Belt sites.

Knowing the poor infrastructure capacity on the Island and the potential issues residents face, any increases in population needs keeping to a minimum!

And a Local Government Association (LGA) Peer Challenge team investigating the Planning set up at Castle Point Council, at what we assume a critical time with the risk of the Government taking over the Local Plan, appears little short of a disaster for our Local Authority!

However, despite the cpbc’s chief executive assertion that everything is under control, some extremely serious issues appear to have been uncovered by the LGA, especially when the accusation of a “perception concerning weaknesses in probity in relation to the planning decision making”!

This would appear a very serious accusation indeed!

The Development Committee chairman, in particular, appears to have been singled out for criticism, whereas, it must be said, we have always found him to have put public speakers at their ease and very fair in allowing members and speakers to make their points.

That the Echo have disclosed an apparent  committee weakness in the areas of; “”respect for the chair, clarity of stages of decision, weighting of appropriate planning considerations, probity and consistent reference to non-planning matters” when making decisions,” appears to be a direct criticism of the chief executive and his planning team’s direction, training and control of the development committee members!

This Report, highlighting apparent incompetencies, appears to bode very badly indeed for CPBC and their hopes of maintain some level of control in their / our Local Plan process.

The Sword of Damocles appears to have fallen on the displaced Development Committee chairman, it remains to be seen whether others have been very lucky to have escaped, reputation unharmed.

It goes without saying that, as now there is a copy of the report in circulation, we the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group would be eager and grateful for a look at the entire copy, and so would appreciate it if the Echo, cpbc employee or council member would forward a copy through the usual contact channels, via this website, Facebook or Twitter.

 From the Echo:

“DEVELOPERS are actively avoiding Castle Point due to major council failings, a leaked report has revealed.

Dysfunctional relationships between officers and councillors, inappropriate behaviour and a lack of understanding are among the criticisms of Castle Point Council’s development committee in a report issued by the Local Government Association.

The report also questioned how decisions are being made with “a widespread perception concerning weaknesses in probity in relation to the planning decision making process”.

Castle Point Council is preparing a response after questions were raised regarding honesty and competency when it comes to planning decisions and following the law.

Castle Point Council chief executive David Marchant said: “An action plan to respond to the recommendations has been prepared which is scheduled to be considered formally by the cabinet later this summer.

“In the meantime members and officers are working closely together to examine the findings and respond to the recommendations in the report. The peer challenge report and action plan will be published with the agenda for the cabinet meeting as usual.”

Inspectors found a weak understanding among some members, and key concerns include “chairing, respect for the chair, clarity of stages of decision, weighting of appropriate planning considerations, probity and consistent reference to non-planning matters” when making decisions.

The failings open the council up to expensive appeals or even the loss of control of planning decisions.

The report claimed developers told inspectors they are actively avoiding Castle Point despite the “obvious locational advantages” because of the way the committee works.

The report, and peer challenge, goes on to state the council is only building half the homes needed and that there is a “dysfunctional relationships” between members and officers which is seriously impeding work.

It was also suggested that due to the concerns, the development control committee in Castle Point should be scrapped.

Instead, it should be replaced with a strategic planning committee with a “smaller more focussed group of well trained members”.

The council is yet to come up with an acceptable housing plan for the future which could mean power is removed from the council.

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Castle Point Local Plan – Intervention Decision delayed for Housing + Business Growth Plans?

Brokenshire backs 2050 vision for the Thames Estuary

A multi-million pound package of commitments to drive forward growth in the Thames Estuary to create jobs, build new homes and boost local economic growth.

  • The government pledges support for the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission’s vision to create 1.3 million new jobs in the area by 2050
  • £1 million committed to set up a new Thames Estuary Growth Board to drive economic growth in the region
  • £4.85 million committed to support local partners to develop proposals for enhancing transport services between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet

A multi-million pound package of commitments to drive forward growth in the Thames Estuary has been announced today (25 March 2019) to create jobs, build new homes and boost local economic growth.

In its response to the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission’s 2018 report, the government backs the Commission’s ambitious plans to create 1.3 million new jobs and generate an extra £190 billion for the local economy.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP also put forward a number of new measures as part of a wider government support to realise the 2050 growth vision for the Thames Estuary. These include a commitment to give:

  • £1 million to establish a new Thames Estuary Growth Board oversee and drive economic growth plans for the area
  • £4.85 million to support local partners to develop low-cost proposals for enhancing transport services between Abbey Wood and Ebbsfleet
  • a Cabinet-level Ministerial Champion will be appointed to act as an advocate and critical friend for the region within government will also be appointed

Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:

The Thames Estuary has long been a gateway to the UK economy and has enormous untapped potential, which has the power to benefit those that live and work in the area.

Having considered the recommendations of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, I have announced a number of steps we are taking to unlock an even brighter future for the Estuary’s economy, marking the beginning of a new and bolder approach by this government to support the area.

The government’s response sets out its priorities for the Thames Estuary, including the delivery of jobs and homes, addressing local skills challenges and agreeing fully-evidenced Local Industrial Strategies.

Further information

Encompassing East London, North Kent and South Essex, the Thames Estuary has the potential to support growth right across the country. Served by international airports and seaports, it is home to an internationally-significant financial services cluster at Canary Wharf and is achieving huge success as a cultural and creative powerhouse.

Despite its strengths, the economic growth is slower and unemployment levels are higher in the Thames Estuary compared to the country’s averages. That is why in 2016 the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission was tasked with developing an ambitious vision for growth in the area.

Grateful for the expertise and independent challenge provided by the Commission, the government welcomed the Commission’s report, published on 25 June 2018. After considering its recommendations in detail, the government has now responded with its commitments to the Estuary, which marks an important first step towards delivering the Commission’s vision.

The government worked with local partners in preparing its response to set out its measures boost the region.

Copy: wired-gov.net

Canvey Island – Congestion – 3rd Access Road – Daily Commute – No Sign of Relief as Major Infrastructure improvements remain, Aspirational!

Have you wondered why London hasn’t an Eastbound Motorway similar to the west of London.

East houses the business and production areas along with the urbanised towns, almost merging with each other, whereas to the west is a lot more land space and the holiday routes.

On the A127 it is difficult to measure the traffic level.

What I mean is that it is distorted by being just 2 lanes and has purposely retained slow down mechanisms, namely the fortune of war roundabout, and the poorly, and the economically designed short slip roads, which slows down traffic flows often to a Halt!

Chelmsford is looking after the mid and north of the county routes, intentionally leaving the south and thameside local authorities to seek other funding streams which are barely forthcoming.

Hence the piecemeal patchwork upgrades to the a13 and the lack of improvements to the a127.

Is it a deliberate ploy by Essex County Council to segregate us from them, in the knowledge that Thameside areas under the will of “The Association of South Essex Local Authorities” intends to become more and more intensely urbanised, acting as a buffer to keep mid and north essex leafier and more better funded off the back of us!

The “improvements” on the local major arteries have been piecemeal and catastrophic. The A127 being basically neglected for the last 40 years as for the A13 we need only to consider the sections of lane widening such as now only just commencing at Stanford at the same time as the seemingly continual repairs to the substandard construction of the Sadlers farm Junction.

Locally the incomplete Roscommon Way, the 2nd phase being completed to vastly reduced lifetime standards, whilst the continually promised 3 road off Canvey Island, remains after all of this time an “A”spiration. (Is that what they mean by an “A” road?).

Meanwhile Parliament got in on the act by holding a discussion on the road infrastructure of Essex in Westminster Hall.

Speakers included Priti Patel, Mark Francois, Graham Stringer chair, James Duddbribge, Will Quince, Rachel Maskell, Jesse Norman Min of State Dept of Transport.

Some of the debate included, with no names attached to quotations, but you will note the early emphasis on Mid and North of the County, and you can contemplate this as you sit in your nearest Traffic Jam, in the clear Knowledge that Nothing Will be Done Soon to Improve the Situation!:

“Over the past decade there has been a 25% increase in the number of enterprises across Essex. In 2010, that number stood at 61,540. By 2018 it had risen to 77,365.”

“it is not only individuals who depend on our transport sector, but businesses and everyone else. Essex has a strong advanced manufacturing and engineering sector that employs over 50,000 people in over 4,200 companies.”

“In the county of Essex, farming alone is worth over £400 million to our economy and employs over 8,000 people.”

“every year enough wheat to make 1.3 billion loaves of bread, enough barley to make 280 million pints of beer, and 150 million eggs. We also grow outdoor vegetables on 5,000 acres of land, so roads and transport are important”

we have 66,000 professionals in Essex, so it is important that we continue to grow and support them. We have a dynamic academic and educational sector, with Writtle University College, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Essex”

“We have over 1,000 acres of port-adjacent, tri-modally connected logistics and distribution sites, which are the backbone of our economy, ​and we are connected by road, rail, sea and air to global markets. We have four major seaports—London Gateway, Tilbury, Harwich and Purfleet—with a fifth major port, Felixstowe, just over the border in Suffolk. There are also six port-side rail freight terminals and three key tri-modal logistic sites at London Gateway and the London distribution park.”

“our airports: Stansted, which is the UK’s third largest air freight hub by capacity, and Southend airport. Those airports are not just growing, but experiencing considerable passenger growth and, in the case of Stansted, benefiting from private sector investment to the tune of £600 million.”

“One statistic says it all: it is not surprising to learn that Essex is the local authority with the second-highest traffic level in the country, with 9.68 billion vehicle miles in 2017 alone. That is 2 billion miles more than in 1997, and if the unitary authorities of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea are included, the greater Essex area has the highest traffic level by distance, with 11.2 billion miles.”

The Minister must understand that our main arterial routes—the A13, the A127 and the A12—are bursting at the seams.”

“The Government want more house building in south Essex and the rest of the county. I make it plain to the Minister that he has to pay for the infrastructure if he wants those houses built. If the Government will not come up with the money, for instance to make the A127 the M127, they can forget their housing targets.”

“Chairman “I remind Members that, although this is not a well-attended debate, interventions should be short, brief and to the point.””

The case for investment in the A12 and the A120 is compelling”

A12 “below standard slip roads and capacity problems which can result in tailbacks.”

“Minister, if this were legislation, I would suggest a very simple amendment: delete “A” and insert “M”. I refer, of course, to the A127. We want it to be a motorway. When I say “we”, I do not mean me, or a collection of a few random individuals; the whole of Essex wants it to be a motorway. In November 2018, a group came together—the south Essex A127 taskforce—led by Councillor Mike Steptoe, who is both of Essex County Council and deputy leader of Rochford Council. That group included Essex, Southend, Thurrock, Rochford, Basildon, Castle Point, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Malden, Havering, Transport for London and Highways England.”

The A127 carries more than 75,000 people every day.”

“we need to make sure that all incremental improvements to the A127 do not stand in the way of a future motorway—developments such as the Fairglen interchange between the A130 and the A127 need to be motorway-proof.”

“Although right hon. and hon. Members have extolled the economic opportunities for their areas and discussed the housing developments that are putting pressure on the infrastructure, which is clearly under severe pressure and needs to be redressed, I urge the Minister to take a more strategic view of how we develop our transport infrastructure. The reality is that we need to plan not just for the next decade or two, but for the long term.”

In December 2014 the Government launched the first road investment strategy, which outlined how more than £15 billion is to be invested in our strategic roads between 2015 and 2021. That is the biggest upgrade to strategic roads in a generation, and it will be exceeded in RIS2 from 2025, which is of the scale of £25 billion.”

“To zero-in on Essex, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witham pointed out that the first road investment strategy includes the widening of the A12 between junction 19 at Chelmsford and junction 25 at Marks Tey, where it currently joins the A120.”

“Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,”

“That this House has considered transport infrastructure in Essex.”

The complete debate can be read via this LINK.

Photograph: Yellow Advertiser

Stagnation at Castle Point Council, whilst other Local Authorities take the Local Plan Fight to the Inspectorate!

It appears that Castle Point Borough Council are far from being the only Local Authority struggling to meet its Housing Needs. Whether the Government step in to scoop up the left-overs of the various Local Plan versions devised within CPBC Runnymede Towers, or whether CPBC are Actually Attempting to resurrect a Local Plan, rather than twiddling their thumbs waiting for the Government Chief Planner, Residents remain in the Dark!

With the last version of the Local Plan 2018, voted down at the Special Council meeting, it may have been appropriate for a councillor, or a group of councillors, to have proposed a return to the 2016 version, and seen whether a concensus could have been gained on that within a council members meeting.

At least the CPBC Local Plan process would have been seen to be advancing rather than the pathetic Standstill we appear to be held in.

Whether CPBC have had word of Bad News from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire, but we will not be hearing officially his verdict on Intervention ahead of the May local elections, we can only surmise.

But with news from Manchester that Government Ministers and The Planning Inspectorate not appearing to be on the “same page” where the calculation of Housing Targets and indeed the Supply of Land is concerned, CPBC may well have missed a trick in not continuing to at least try to advance its Local Plan!

We have to assume that CPBC council officers have been working to fulfil the Duty to Cooperate part of the Local Plan process, if not, why not, so why haven’t councillors taken it upon themselves to work on the Local Plan itself?

A Local Plan, whether fully Sound, but at least Agreed upon, could be considered and possibly consulted upon, outside of Intervention. The Green Belt, Flood Risk and the Hazardous Industries could be debated in open Examination, rather than in private!

The Local Government Chronicle Reported on the 26th February 2019:                                         

Greater Manchester CA mayor Andy Burnham has accused the housing minister Kit Malthouse of being ‘at best partial and at worst misleading’ over comments made regarding Greater Manchester’s plans for new homes.                                                                                                                

The issue of whether it is really necessary to build on greenbelt land in Greater Manchester is a contentious one right now. After being beset by delays, the latest consultation on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework opened last month and runs until 18 March.                         

Greater Manchester has calculated how many new homes it will require by 2037 based on 2014 household projections, in accordance with the government’s proposed methodology for calculating local housing need.                                                                                                                         

This required Greater Manchester to plan for 73,500 more dwellings than had it used more recent 2016 projections. In order to meet these targets the combined authority has earmarked nearly 64,000 dwellings on a series of greenfield sites, predominantly within the green belt.       

The mayor claims that the government’s insistence on using these “outdated housing targets” had left him with “no choice” but to plan to build on green belt land. But housing minister Kit Malthouse denied that the government’s targets were mandatory.                                                     

Mr Malthouse stated that any inspector will accept a “properly evidenced and assessed variation” from that target.                                                                                                                                 

“If, for example, you have constraints like areas of outstanding natural beauty or green belt, or whatever it might be, and you can justify a lower number, then an inspector should accept that.”                                      

Mr Burnham claims that Mr Malthouse’s comments, which were made during last week’s parliamentary debate on the framework came as a “surprise” to him.                                                    

They do not reflect current government policy,” he said. “They give a very different impression to the one offered in private by civil servants.”                                                                                          

“Under pressure from Conservative backbenchers, it would appear that the Government is trying to soften its line on housing numbers and greenbelt and deflect blame towards councils…It is unfair and dishonest.”                                                                                                                      

Mr Burnham claims that Greater Manchester does not believe it has discretion over housing numbers, because the government’s planning guidance says local authorities are “expected” to use the government methodology to calculate housing need and will be required to “demonstrate exceptional circumstances” to deviate from it.                                                                

The government’s target, based on its standard methodology, is to build a million homes by the end of 2020. But a report released this month by the National Audit Office, ‘Planning for New Homes’, admitted this target will be “challenging to meet”, and found the standard methodology approach has “weaknesses” and “as a result will be revised”.                                                             

Although local authorities in the South and East of England are being pushed to build significantly more new homes, the report explains that the latest standard method of assessing housing need specifies that the minimum numbers of new homes needed in some areas is now less than the local authorities had previously assessed – in the North West, by 24%.          

Responding to Mr Burnham’s comments, Mr Malthouse said: “We need more homes in the right places and we are reforming the planning system to ensure this occurs. “But we have been clear that the use of green belt land should be a last resort, with the standard method not providing a mandatory target.                                                                                                               

“That’s why we strengthened green belt protection with councils now having to show they have exhausted all other reasonable options to meet development needs before even considering changes to the green belt and then evidence exceptional circumstances to justify development.”                     

Copyright: Jessica Hill, Local Government Chronicle

Canvey Island, Congestion – Lack of Infrastructure – Business, Retail + Housing Development and a Couldn’t Care Less attitude to Parking Provision!

For Canvey Islanders the daily commute, whether by car or public transport, can be, to put it politely, “challenging”! Castle Point Council will tell you that it is the same across the whole Borough.

As we are all aware there is pressure to supply yet more and more Housing development. This will inevitably add to the problem.

One would have thought that, CPBC would have adopted a strategy by now, especially over the extended period taken to arrive at a 3 times rejected Local Plan, that would at least start to address the congestion problem.

But no, where Canvey Island is concerned, the Town Centre Regeneration scheme has been ignored and dismissed where convenient to CPBC! The old Nat West building and neighbouring property, identified as space for road realignment is set to become a community centre and bakery, with new development adjoining.

More concerning however, is the lack of correlation between, new Builds and the accompanying Car Parking spaces, and the major Business and Retail Parks receiving all being Approved on the Island!

These planning proposals all due to impose a Negative Impact on Canvey Island’s Car Parking and Road Network, despite the fine words included within the Local Plan 2018.

The Castle Point Borough Council Emerging Local Plan proposed Policies that seeks “Opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport are pursued; The environmental impact of traffic and transport infrastructure is taken into account; and Movement, streets and parking are integrated into designs”

The Emerging Local Plan recognises “Many of the main routes within the borough are single carriageway roads with little prospect for widening due to the proximity of existing development. This also limits the potential to provide dedicated passenger transport routes and cycleways” “Castle Point is peripheral on the bus service network and whilst there are good services during the day on most routes, service frequency is not as good in the evenings and on Sundays.”” The cycle network within Castle Point is limited, and where it does exist it is disjointed and poorly maintained.”

The New Out of Town Retail / Business sites will not only be to the detriment of the Canvey Town Centre but also intensify the Congestion heading towards and from Canvey West. However, almost every Flatted development Approved on Canvey, has a shortfall of Car Parking Spaces, officers suggesting that isn’t their concern as Town centre Flats benefit from facilities being nearby and benefit from regular public transport!

Equally there is a consistency with the Approved Retail / Business sites, that they to, when residents and mainlanders arrive, will also have a Shortfall of Car Parking Spaces!

Below are a few examples indicating the Castle Point Council’s Planning officers and committee approach to the issues of Car Parking and new Housing Development and Retail / Business development.

Spot the Connections!

King Canute Flats, Vetenary practice and CO OP store.

“The proposed car park…..would result in a significant level of harmful conflict… between the 3 independent uses, adversely affecting the ease of movement within the site, and if approved, likely to accumulate in the displacement of the residential occupiers vehicles onto Edith road, to the detriment of safety and traffic flows,”

The Flats “attract a requirement of two parking spaces” each…. “the provision of 3 spaces (in total) would appear to represent a deficiency, however….””where Flats will have easy access to the bus network…” “the parking provision is considered satisfactory.”

“With regard to the retail element” the area of floor space results” in a maximum requirement of 25 parking spaces.”

The retail element is provided with some 13 parking spaces.” Recommended for Approval and subsequently Approved by Committee.

…………………………………………..

125 – 127 High Street Canvey Island. 14 x 2 Bedroom Flats

“ The currently adopted parking standards published by ECC require the provision of two spaces per property. Within Town Centres this may be reduced.”

“The site is remote from the core of the Town Centre…”

“Visitor parking should be provided at a rate of 0.25 spaces per dwelling.”

“Application of parking standards generates a requirement of 32 parking spaces.”

“The proposal would provide 15 spaces and should therefore attract a recommendation of Refusal.” Approved on Appeal

…………………………………………

Canvey Supply Ltd 74 High Street Canvey Island  16/0212/OUT

The scheme would provide 24 car parking spaces and 32 cycle parking spaces to serve the needs of the residential development and 4 spaces to serve the shops.

The maximum parking requirement for this development is as follows:

12 x 1 bed apartments 12 spaces, 12 x 2 bed apartments 24 spaces, Visitors 0.25 x 24 = 6 = 6 spaces 42 spaces parking spaces.

The proposed retail units have an area of some 268m2 and therefore attract a requirement for 14 parking spaces.

A maximum total of 56 spaces is therefore required on the site.

The proposal seeks to provide 24 residential parking spaces.

 The proposed development is deficient in parking provision and ordinarily would attract a recommendation of refusal. However, the site is located within a Town Centre where the availability of private parking and service areas is extremely limited and where access to other public car parks and public transport is available. Approved by CPBC committee.

……………………………………..

Now let’s look at our New Retail / Business developments!

Land Opposite Morrisons Northwick Road 15/0293/RES

Hotel and motor dealership. Approx. 27 Units various sizes.

This site has a total area of 7.5ha, the north of which connects to Northwick Road. The east of the site is bounded by Roscommon Way and the Morrisons site

Parking Requirement 590 Spaces. 565 Spaces to be provided. Projected Shortfall  25 Spaces.

………………………………..

Lidl foodstore 18/0868/FUL

Lidls presents itself as a local convenience retailer and therefore operates on the basis of a limited catchment area. Usually this would be a five minute drive time. However given the somewhat unique circumstances of Canvey Island, this has been extended to eight minutes in order, primarily to capture the whole of Canvey.

A significant proportion of turnover will therefore be derived from diversion from existing retailers.

 The impact of this diversion on the vitality and viability of the Centres must now be considered.

102 car parking spaces would be provided. The proposed store would attract a requirement for 149 car parking spacesShortfall of 47 Spaces.

………………………………..

Land South Of Roscommon Way Canvey Island  14/0707/OUT, Demolition of disused pumping station and construction of commercial and industrial development

7.41Ha site

The proposed Layout indicates the intention to provide 566 Parking Spaces. However the Actual Supply should be 662 a Shortfall of 96 Parking spaces.

…………………………….

Retail Site M and S, Costa, B and M, Sports Direct, Garden Centre etc

Land off Roscommon Way Canvey Island 16/0419/FUL

3.4Ha site (approx).

Approved with undersize car parking spaces, inconsistent with adopted parking standards.

The proposal should be required to provide 456 car Parking Spaces

Actual Supply 240 Parking Spaces. Just 53% of the Requirement “This deficiency would appear to represent a significant objection to be proposal.”

………………………………..

Next time you are out sitting in Traffic or wondering why people are Parking on Pavements etc, just Remember, it’s all part of somebody’s Big Plan!

Residents of Canvey Island left to Face the Risks, whilst Castle Point Council, Fail to Develop an Adequate, operable Emergency Plan!

38,459+ Residents living on Canvey Island, seemingly oblivious to the everyday Risks and potential Harm facing them!

Whether the Risk is Tidal from the Estuary, Surface Water flooding or from the Hazardous Industries on the Island, a suitable Emergency Plan involving the Residents is essential.

The old Adage “we are safe from the Sea” is bunkum, as Castle Point Borough Council’s own evidence Highlights!   

 “Given the risk to the population, various measures are required to deal with the concerns to human health and wellbeing. These include:

• The need for an emergency plan to be in place;

• The need for sea defences to be maintained and improved;

• The need to maintain the population living in the flood risk zone at current levels or lower;

• The need for existing homes to be made more flood resilient, and include areas where people can remain safe in the event of a flood;

• The need for new development to incorporate design elements that make them safe in the event of a flood for occupiers;

• The need for building techniques to be used that enable easy restoration in the event of a flood.” (1)

Further CPBC Local Plan Evidence Documentation enforces the issues;

10.4 Tidal and fluvial flooding poses the most significant flood risk to the Castle Point Borough, in particular Canvey Island and Hadleigh Marshes. The topography and location of watercourses on Canvey Island means that the whole island is at risk from tidal and fluvial flooding. Although much of the Island is protected by the presence of defences, the island is still at residual risk of flooding if the defences were to fail or to be overtopped.

10.5 In the event that a breach in the existing flood defences was to occur, or a failure of one of the existing flood barriers (residual risk), significant depths of floodwater would be experienced on Canvey Island and the southern portion of the mainland.  Given the low lying nature of these parts of the Borough, floodwaters would propagate rapidly across Canvey Island thereby reducing the time for warning and evacuation of residents. (2)

During the Local Plan Intervention fiasco, CPBC informed the Secretary of State of particular physical circumstances of the Borough, considered to be legitimate constraints as to why the Authority could not provide for its Housing Development Needs.

“Of the urban areas of the Borough, Canvey Island, with approximately half of the Borough’s population, is defined by the Environment Agency as Flood Risk Zone 3a, being at or below sea level.

Further land is likely to be required on Canvey Island by the Environment Agency for improvement to existing sea defences in the lifetime of a Local Plan, further restricting opportunity for development

The Health & Safety Executive require significant exclusion areas to be maintained by the Local Planning authority around two top-tier COMAH sites on Canvey Island’s Thames Estuary frontage”, (3)

Direct Recommendations detailed within the CPBC Strategic Flood Risk Assessment state:

“The majority of the sites will rely on the provision of adequate emergency planning measures to mitigate the residual risk of tidal flooding in the event of a breach in the tidal flood defences.

It is therefore strongly recommended that the suitability of locating more residential accommodation on Canvey Island and the capacity of the existing egress routes off the island is further discussed with the Emergency Planning Team at Castle Point Borough Council and/or Essex County Council prior to site allocation” (4)

Remarkably, CPBCs Development Control Committee has taken responsibility, (having only aspirational resolutions for the various preventative requirements), for successfully seeing-through Housing developments at Canvey Island since January 2012.

In doing so exposing an increased number of residential and commercial population to Residual and/or Actual Societal Risks.

Emergency Plans supporting increased development on Canvey Island are seemingly only “Generic”, where by dealing with a wide range of possible scenarios such as for example Influenza Pandemics, with no “Specific Plans” that relate to a particular emergency.

Specific Plans are a detailed set of arrangements designed to go beyond the generic arrangements, when the latter are likely to prove insufficient in particular cases such as breaching of flood defences or total LPG tank failure. (5)

It would appear that CPBC have not considered the value of Specific Planning in relation to Canvey Island, if they have, they have not included the involvement of the community in the production of specific planning for viable emergency incidents.

Editor, I will leave the reader with an opportunity to provide a Rationale as to how our local authority, Castle Point Borough Council has managed “Residual Risks” via its Local Planning strategy.

Document References

  1. The CPBC Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report, New Local Plan January 2012
  2. Castle Point Borough Council New Local Plan 2018 Technical Evidence: Summary Document June 2018
  3. CPBC Response letter to Sajid Javid 31st Jan 2018, regarding why Government Intervention in the Local Plan process was unnecessary.
  4. Revised Castle Point 2018 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment
  5. Chapter 5 Cabinet Office Revised Emergency Preparedness. Definitions of “Generic” and “Specific” Emergency Planning.

The Big Stick raised to Fall across Castle Point Council’s Knuckles! Government yet to send Letter, as the Wirral and Thanet hear their Local Plan Bad News!

Castle Point Council are now the sole Council awaiting the Government response to their “protracted” efforts towards producing a Local Plan.

Back in March 2018 CPBC were one of just 3 Local Authorities singled out for criticism at the lack of response and effort towards forwarding Local Plans amongst the 15 most feet dragging authorities threatened by the then Housing Minister.

In letters dated 28th January 2019 the Wirral and Thanet Councils have received further instruction on what is now required towards producing their Local Plan. Basically a streamlined group, consisting of a designated lead councillor and lead official, will be charged with responsibility of progressing their Local Plans.

No word as yet of Castle Point Council’s Fate!

In his letter to the Wirral Council, the Secretary of State, JAMES BROKENSHIRE wrote; “We note that in the Wirral’s case the Housing Minister points out “at least two communities in Wirral are currently preparing neighbourhood plans: Leastowe and Birkenhead North. Two further communities have neighbourhood plans in force: Devonshire Park and Hoylake. Communities can bring forward neighbourhood plans in the absence of an up-to-date Local Plan, but doing so can be more challenging for communities.””

Previously Housing Secretary SAJID JAVID had stated; “The government has abolished top-down regional planning. But a locally-led planning system requires elected local representatives to take the lead, listen to local residents and business, and set out a clear framework to build new homes, provide key infrastructure, support the local economy and protect the environment.”

The Canvey Green Belt Campaign group maintains the opinion that Canvey Island, as a whole, would have been better represented if we had made efforts to, at least, commence a Neighbourhood Plan.

This is no less relevant, now that we learn that within the next stages of a CPBC Local Plan, we will be represented by a Lead Councillor more likely to propose inappropriate development on Canvey Island.

A Canvey Island Neighbourhood Plan would have been a vehicle to illustrate the issues facing Canvey Island, in the process to produce a fair Castle Point Local Plan.

Instead we will likely be represented by a Lead Councillor supportive of the rejected 2018 Local Plan, and all of the Development that document proposed to deliver on Green Belt on the Flood Zone and away from politically sensitive areas!

Sources inform us that no Local Plan work is on-going at CPBC, they appear to sitting like ducks in the water, oblivious to the shotgun about to be fired at them!

Admittedly it is strange that of the 3 councils in most serious trouble with the Secretary of State, only CPBC have yet to receive a letter. Either way none of the councillors are feeding any information nor CPBC making comment as to Local Plan progress.

Councillors and officers have a responsibility to the Residents but show little regard as to keeping them informed.

We are likely to pay a heavy price for CPBC’s ineptitude!

We thank our friends at Basildon Residents Against Inappropriate Development for alerting us to the issuing of the Government letters to the Wirral and Thanet Councils, shame our local Echo isn’t more challenging where CPBC is concerned.

The Letters issued to the Wirral and Thanet can be found via this LINK.